Showing posts with label California coast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California coast. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Photo of Elfin Forest from Boardwalk, Los Osos, California, © B. Radisavljevic

The Elfin Forest is a natural area in Los Osos. It's named for its "pigmy" live oaks which have been stunted by growing where they do. The forest looks out over the southeastern shore of Morro Bay and covers about 90 acres. 

Should You Visit the Elfin Forest?

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Sign at Entrance of Elfin Forest, Los Osos, Photo © B. Radisavljevic


Every traveler or tourist has unique interests. I, for example, am much happier walking a nature trail than I would be walking in downtown San Francisco. I know, because I've done both. I'd rather be surrounded by nature and have a camera in my hand.

One winter day we decided to play tourist while out doing errands. We had time to kill after our medical appointment in San Luis Obispo. It was too soon to take advantage of the lunch special at our favorite restaurant (now closed).  After twenty years in this area, we’d never stopped in Los Osos. I thought it was time. I wanted a photo walk, and Hubby couldn't take his usual swim at the gym because we were away. We both needed exercise. We decided to go see the Elfin Forest in Los Osos.

Before we left for San Luis Obispo that day, I'd checked the sites that listed tourist attractions. Although the AAA Tour Book for Northern California did not consider this attraction worth mentioning, I had passed signs along the road before. So I looked it up and discovered we could walk the entire trail through the pigmy oak forest in less than an hour. We decided to see what was there and walk off a bit of the buffet lunch we would eat afterwards.

We took the Los Osos Valley Road exit west from the 101 Freeway in San Luis Obispo. Below is a scene we passed on Los Osos Valley Road once we were out of the commercial area. I made my husband stop the car so that I could snap the photo I used in this canvas print. It's also available as a greeting card, poster, postcard, and iPad Mini case. In fact, once you are on the Zazzle site, you can transfer the design to any product you choose.



What We Saw at the Elfin Forest

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Shot from Elfin Forest, Los Osos, Photo © B. Radisavljevic


As mentioned above, we toured the Elfin Forest in winter, but Los Osos is on the coast and the climate is mild. The weather was just right for taking a walk outdoors -- not too hot or too cold. But the season did give us a different experience than we would have had in spring or summer. We were still experiencing the drought of 2014 when we took our walk, as well. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos - View of Estuary
Estuary, with Morro Rock in Distance, © B. Radisavljevic


 I took the photo above from a lookout on the trail called Siena’s view. It looks out toward Morro Bay, and you can see Morro Rock off in the distance. Do you see how the drought has affected the estuary?

This is another view of the estuary from the boardwalk, looking toward Baywood Park. I made a puzzle of it on Zazzle with the same design as the postcard below. The text is easy to remove with the customize button.




Fauna I Saw During My Visit


I'm sure there were probably some fauna around, but I didn't see anything in the Elfin Forest itself the day I visited. The creatures must have seen me first. In other reviews I've read, people mentioned seeing rabbits, lizards, and even a fox. All I saw was birds. In one of the photos above there was either a hawk or a vulture in the sky. There were many water birds I could see in the estuary from the boardwalk. To get a good view one would need binoculars. This is what I was able to capture with a zoom lens from quite a distance. It would have been better if I'd been zeroing in on the birds, but at the time I was more interested in the overview.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Water and Shore Birds in Estuary

Many people enjoy bird watching from the Elfin Forest. I recognize the ducks, but not the birds with longer legs. Here is a complete list of the birds that hang out here. Unfortunately, there aren't any photos. If anyone recognizes the two wading birds near the center of the photo below, please let me know in the comments.




Flora of the Elfin Forest


I have seen photos taken in spring when the forest's many plants are in bloom, but not much was blooming in January. I did see coyote brush in bloom. You can learn more about coyote brush here - Coyote Brush: Blessing or Curse.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Coyote Brush
Coyote Brush in Bloom,  © B. Radisavljevic
I did find something else in bloom, but I haven't been able to identify it yet. I'm quite sure it's a berry, but the blooming times and/or leaves didn't match what seemed to make sense from the list I checked of the flora of this forest. Or maybe my eyes are bad. If you recognize it, please let me know in the comments. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Flora
Mystery Plant in Bloom at End of January,  © B. Radisavljevic



Poison Oak also lurks around the Elfin Forest. Be careful of it, especially in winter when it's harder to see. In the photo below, the very bright leaves are oak leaves. The leaves that show some red are poison oak. Do you see their bare stems? Those are just as dangerous to touch as the leaves are. Sometimes in winter there aren't any leaves to warn you. So stay on trails and don't touch bare stems unless you know it's not poison oak. Find more help with poison oak identification in this article: Oak and Poison Oak in Photos - Can You Tell the Difference? 


The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Poison Oak
Oak and Poison Oak in Winter,  © B. Radisavljevic
The pigmy oaks are live oak trees that are stunted by their environment and can't grow as tall as the live oak trees you find in other places. It appears many of them are dead or barely alive. Some appear to be skeletons offering a place for Spanish moss to establish themselves. Below you see one such tree with what appear to be suckers or fresh baby branches near the bottom of the tree. A healthy tree sits to the right displaying branches full of deep green leaves. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Pigmy Oak and Spanish Moss
Pigmy Oak in Winter with Spanish Moss,  © B. Radisavljevic
To get things into perspective, here are some photos to help you gauge the size of the plants in relationship to the boardwalk. Usually when one thinks of walking through a forest, one imagines looking up at the trees which block the view of what's beyond them. The Elfin Forest is different. Everything that grows there is short -- elf-size. Here's my husband, a giant among the pygmies.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Hubby on Boardwalk
Giant Among the Pigmies,  © B. Radisavljevic


But sometimes the trees and shrubs along the boardwalk do grow higher, as did the oaks in the previous photo. The photo below shows that they can often go over one's head and block the surrounding view.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
A Tunnel through the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic
There are many other photos of the flora that I snapped from the boardwalk, but there is not room for all of them here.

Amenities in the Elfin Forest


There really aren't many to speak of. There are no restrooms or drinking fountains nearby. If you plan to stay long, bring water. Most people would not spend more than an hour here. The boardwalk loop is only 4/5 of a mile long. It is flat and wheelchair accessible. There are several benches for resting along the way. Here is one resting place. You can find out where the nearest restrooms are here.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: A Resting Place
Benches along Boardwalk at the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic
Some benches like these, do have backs.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: A Resting Place
More Benches along Boardwalk at the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic


Along the walk there are also signs to point out attractions or help identify some of the plants. Some just let you know where you are on the walk. I showed one such sign near the beginning of this post. Although sometimes as you go through a "tunnel" you may feel like you are in a maze, there is little chance you will get lost.

The Los Osos / Morro Bay Chapter of Small Wilderness Area helps maintain the Elfin Forest and also sponsors nature walks on the third Saturday of each month. You can find more information about visiting the Elfin Forest here.  If you are ever driving south on Highway 1 or 101 from Paso Robles or Cambria or points north, The Elfin Forest is a quick place to stop and stretch your legs and get a dose of nature. 

Hungry people can take a short drive to the San Luis Obispo Costco afterward for an inexpensive snack. Pizza, hot dogs, frozen treats, and more are available to the public -- not just Costco members. Purchase the food outside the store and eat at the picnic tables provided. There are also several restaurants nearby.  


If you are in the area with some time to kill and would like to take a quick nature walk or do some birdwatching, stop by the Elfin Forest. It's also a good place to walk your dog. And admission is free. I plan to go back in a couple of days when we again have a medical appointment. I'm hoping to find all the plants that were dormant in January in bloom in June.
The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos:
This collage was created with Fotojet. See review by Contributor Dawn Rae

Related Posts


Dawn Rae reviewed one of my favorite places that also appears to be one of hers -- Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. She has done a lot of hiking there. I've only been there for a couple of hours at a time on my way to and from other historical sites. If you're ever near it, don't hesitate to stop and explore.

Contributor Mary Beth Granger reviews some tips for taking photos while hiking.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Let Your iPad Mini Case Reflect Your Love for the California Central Coast

A Review of Zazzle's iPad Mini Cases

The Savvy Style Case



Let Your iPad Mini Case Reflect Your Love for the California Central Coast

 

When you have invested in something as important as an iPad Mini, you will want it to be well-protected from the daily wear and tear of use and being transported wherever you go. I know that my electronic items get a lot of wear and tear just from being in my purse or waist pack. It's easy for your iPad Mini to be rubbed or scratched without protection.

You can defend your iPad Mini with a lightweight hard shell made of plastic. You can choose between a matte or a glossy finish for most designs. You can clip the case right to the back of the iPad Mini to protect it. These cases sold on Zazzle were specifically designed just for the iPad Mini, so you can be assured of a proper fit. You will also be able to reach all your ports and controls when your cover is shielding your iPad.

 If you have a Smart Cover, this will be compatible with it. If you don't have a smart cover and want even more protection, an automatic sleep and wake-up feature,  and a built-in stand to fit any iPad Mini position, you might want to check out one of these Smart Covers from Amazon. The black one is shown below, but it also comes in other colors closer to the Zazzle design you choose. And you might think about a screen protector, too. Although the Smart Covers offer a lot of protection and extra features, the selection of designs pales in comparison with what Zazzle has.

Zazzle also has the Powis Hardcover Cases

These cases were designed to fit either the iPad Mini or the iPad Mini with Retina and are made by Powis Park in Berkeley, California. The case's  rubberized non-slip edge makes it easy to use in landscape view position. Its hard cover is made with premium book cloth, and the designs you choose are printed on recycled hardboard which is laminated on both front and back. When you are using your iPad Mini, the case is free-standing. When you are not using it, the custom design you have selected or chosen will show. You still can choose a glossary or matte finish. 

 Your case from Zazzle can be anything you want it to be. You can even design one with your own photo. For best results it should should measure 5.85" x 8.45" and allow for 1/3" bleed space on the edges. That is what would be outside the safe area in design view when you are customizing. Of course, it's easier to just pick one of the already designed cases below to show your love of your Central Coast beach or area. 

Let's Begin Our iPad Mini Tour of the Central Coast Beaches


 San Simeon and the North Coast Of San Luis Obispo

 San Simeon is famous as the location of Hearst Castle, that spectacular retreat build by William Randolph Hearst for his family and friends.


San Simeon also has a fantastic state beach with a long pier and lots of recreation opportunities. I took the photos for these cases there. Both types are displayed here.





About 14 miles north of San Simeon State Beach is Piedras Blanco, which is well known for it's lighthouse and as a place to watch the elephant seals who return to its beaches to breed each winter. Here are some of the iPad cases with scenes from these beaches along the north coast. If you love rugged beaches or elephant seals, you might consider using them to decorate and protect your iPad.


In middle scene in first row above, the elephant seals are off in the distance and the emphasis is on the shore. Way in the background you can see the Piedras Blancos lighthouse. I could not get very close to it on the day I was there because it is only accessible to the public on interpretative tours at scheduled times. I hope to go back and take the tour sometime. If you look carefully, you can also see the lighthouse way back in the distance in the last scene above. This was taken earlier in the day than the other picture.

 As you can see, this can be a romantic place. I actually took the middle picture above on the evening of Valentine's Day, which I was celebrating here with my husband. This couple is enjoying the sunset together, perhaps after they've spent some time observing the elephant seals which are barely visible in the darkness behind them. This might be a great gift for one lover to give another. It also might work as an engagement present.

 Farther south are the beaches on the Cambria coast. Cambria is wonderful walking beach for those who like a bit of rugged coastline with rocks to climb and tide pools. You'll find seaweed and driftwood on the beach, and maybe some shells and interesting small stones. Here are some iPad Mini cases with scenes of the Cambria Coast and Moonstone Beach, one of our favorite getaways.



 South San Luis Obispo County Coast: Cayucos


The first beach town south of the North Coast is Cayucos. It's a small town and I've only been to the beach there once, but I explored it for several hours in the late afternoon. The waves there make it popular with surfers.

 I loved all the interesting seaweed that came ashore. You can see Cayucos for yourself and enjoy all the sights and sounds in my photo / video tour of it I put together during the day I spent there. See the waves come in and watch the children play on the beach and the sea gulls explore the beach near them. Walk the pier with us, too.

These are some of the iPad Mini cases that capture the flavor of Cayucos. 


South County Beach Cities: Morro Bay


Each part of the coastline has is own unique character. Morro Bay is easy to recognize by its identifying landmarks -- Morro Rock and the smokestacks from a now inactive power plant. Its Embarcadero is lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. You will also see the fishing boats docked and moving around in the bay. Here are some iPad Mini scenes from Morro Bay.

 Morro Bay Fishing Boats and Smokestacks Case For The iPad Mini
Each part of the coastline has is own unique character. Morro Bay is easy to recognize by its identifying landmarks -- Morro Rock and the smokestacks from a now inactive power plant. Its Embarcadero is lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. You will also see the fishing boats docked and moving around in the bay. Here are some iPad Mini scenes from Morro Bay.

Moving South, We Next Reach Avila Beach, Including Port San Luis



At first I reached the smaller, more intimate part of Avila Beach that is loved by students at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Rather than being one big beach, it's a series of smaller coves. There is also an RV campground between the road and the beach, and I believe I also saw some tents there. 

Farther along on San Luis Bay Drive you will find Harford Pier -- a long pier with restaurants and a fish market at the end and an observation deck for looking out at the ocean below. The sea gulls are everywhere to entertain you, and occasionally you will even get to see a seal fishing or begging. You will also see people boating, fishing, and kayaking in the bay. It's a great place for nature photography. Here are some of the iPad skins I designed from my Avila Beach photos.

Pismo Beach


 Here are the iPad mini cases designed from the photos I took at Pismo Beach. This was my first visit to Pismo Beach, and I wasn't able to spend as much time there on this visit as I wanted to. First we parked where there was beach access at the end of a residential block. I took a very long stairway down to the beach. There were cliffs filled with colorful ice plant as I walked down, and I took a few pictures from that part of the beach.

 We moved on to a parking lot where there appeared to also be RV parking. I strolled along the boardwalk parallel to the beach as far as the pier. Since I've not been able to get to Pismo Beach during the migration of the Monarch butterflies, I have used a case designed by someone else who did get there.



I hope you've enjoyed our trip down the San Luis Obispo County coast as we stopped at each beach. I hope that you also found just the right iPad Mini Case to help you stay close to your favorite beach as you work. Please share this post if you think someone else might be interested these Central Coast photo iPad Mini Cases.

Let Your iPad Mini Case Reflect Your Love for the California Central Coast




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