Zmudowski State Beach is the second of two beaches slated for closure in the small, central coast town of Moss Landing. (The other is Moss Landing State Beach which I had the pleasure of visiting earlier in the day.)
As the gull flies, the two beaches are connected. A moderately ambitious hiker could walk from one to the other.
But, it is at this point in the journey that California Highway 1 veers away from the coast. So, for those of us without wings, it is a ten mile drive between the two beaches, through the surrounding agricultural lands where there are Strawberry Fields Forever.
The road narrowed and was full of muddy potholes. Is this a state maintained road? A "private property" sign placed at a forty-five degree angle made it unclear which road was public and which was private. I actually had the car turned around, thinking I must be headed in the wrong direction. Yet, I knew I'd followed the signs correctly so I did another 180 and forged ahead.
After passing some marshy farmlands and navigating a few more road obstacles, I suddenly found myself at the official beach gate. The dunes were straight ahead, including Zmudowski's sandy, miniature tetons.
A sign stated that consuming alcohol was prohibited within twenty-five feet of the parking lot. I have a life long tendency of taking things like this too literally.
It has both gotten me into trouble and been a substantial source of personal amusement over the years.
Sooo... I took about a dozen steps up the first sand dune, knowing my stride was at least two feet per step, and took a photo of how far I would have to walk in order to legally have a drink. Silly, I know. It was all academic of course, as I had no alcohol either on my person or in my car.
This vantage point however, provided lovely views of the farmlands to the North, and the town of Moss Landing to the South, including the PG&E towers.
Finally I climbed over the sand dunes in earnest, enjoying the beautiful plant life and, of course, the ocean. Sunsets at the beach often border on a theatrical experience!
I plopped down onto the sand and sat for awhile doing one of my favorite beach activities, absolutely nothing. I listened to the sound of the waves, as the afternoon winds blew through my ears and cleared my cranial gray matter. And I wondered...
... Why are two beaches in one town - Moss Landing - being closed? Can't Moss Landing keep at least one beach? On the drive between Monterey and Santa Cruz on Highway 1, there are state beaches every few miles. I have to guess that Zmudowski State Beach is not well attended. No doubt the poor roads contribute to it's lack of tourists.
I'm glad I took the time to visit. Spring break is coming up. I hope folks will take a day, choose a state park near you, and get out with your family to enjoy our beautiful state and/or learn her history.
I hope to see you at the state parks.