Glorious morning! We discover that our bodies are not too sore to move! In fact we get up early, we repack, we breakfast, and actually start our hike an hour earlier than yesterday. We are not really breakfast eaters, and this breakfast is huge; eggs, toast, potatoes.
We have each developed blisters; not from our shoes, but from toes rubbing each other!
No problem; tape, antibiotic cream, two Advil and we’re set.
Today our walk consists of wide open beaches, miles of quiet, and birds, Birds scampering, birds flying, birds walking. And today we see dead birds in various stages of decay. We see birds with nothing left but feathers, we see birds being eaten by other birds, we see birds lame, and about to be dead birds. What we have noticed is that a lame bird will sit very still on the beach, unflinching as you approach. If the instinct for fight or flight cannot protect you, just sit quietly until you absolutely must move. Now when we see a still bird on the beach as we approach, we redirect our steps to cut a wide swath around him.
Today we see carcasses of seals, otters or dolphins. Apparently either the tastiest, or the most accessible portion of a dead mammal is the viscera. Today we see an injured otter sitting on the sand just at waters edge. We approached too close, as he hauls his broken body back into the surf.
Of course, every animal on land, every animal in the air, or sea will die. I just hate to see them hurt.
Yesterday must have been the prelude to solitude, as today is all beach walking except for a short interlude on a paved path through the Pajaro Dunes development of homes and condominiums. We play the game ‘which house would you want to live in?’. In the near distance we see green fields of agricultural crops surrounding the town of Watsonville.
Once we reach Moss Landing Harbor and turn eastward towards the Elkhorn Slough, we are delighted with the abundance of otters, seals, and birds. We take some time to sight our binoculars on an otter twirling his body in and out of the waterline and rotating head to tail.
We arrive at the Captains Inn, are greeted profusely by the InnKeep, then shown to our lovely room sitting right at the slough edge. A large tub for two, soaking salts and a picture window overlooking the water just about end the day. We are able to muster the energy to seek out Phil’s Fishmarket; local color, a steamy bowl of Cioppino for two, and live Blue Grass music.