The Treasure of Morro Bay

An Ancient Secret . . .


There is a deep, dark secret in Morro Bay.

If you’re ever lucky enough to make a trip to California, and you find yourself driving down the beautiful stretch of asphalt known as the Pacific Coast Highway, keep your eyes open for a sleepy little village known as Morro Bay. It’s quaint and simple, and it’s located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Most people wouldn’t find anything very special about it. And for the most part there isn’t. Morro Bay doesn’t appear to be any different from any other coastal town of its size where fishing is the primary industry.

Life is simple here. Every morning, in the cool, gray light before dawn, the local fishermen pilot their wooden boats away from shore. They head out to sea, hoping for fair weather and a good day’s catch. The gulls accompany them. They fill the sky with their raucous squawking, gliding on the breeze and crying for attention, vying for position, each of them hoping to catch the sticky morsel of bait the fishermen sometimes toss.

This daily scene rarely varies. It has played out in this same manner every morning for hundreds of years. And for all those years, a unique geographic feature has dominated this picturesque setting—Morro Rock.

Like a giant stone guardian, Morro Rock stands a short distance offshore. It towers almost six hundred feet above the blue surface of the Pacific Ocean. Resembling a small mountain, and seeming out of place as it rises from the water, it is the remaining vestige of an ancient, and now extinct, volcano. Eons have passed since the great white columns of smoke climbed from its chimney. Red, molten lava no longer snakes its way, hissing and steaming, into the sea below. Those days are not remembered. Morro Rock now sleeps peacefully in the bay like an old man napping—watching the fishermen as they come and go, day after day, year after year—as silent as the ancient stone from which it is composed.

The people who live here call it The Rock. It does attract a few tourists. Every summer, during vacation season, the visitors walk out on a rickety wooden pier and snap a few pictures to take home with them and show their friends. Then they get back in their cars and drive away, with no idea of what lies inside that rocky monolith.

In fact, Morro Rock is a great deal more than what such a common name implies. And there are only three people in the whole world who know the secret it holds. I’m one of them. My name is Grant Parker. I’ve lived in Morro Bay all my life, which will be fourteen years, this September. I can see Morro Rock from our house on Balboa Drive. 

There’s really nothing scary about it—during the day. But at night it’s often quite a different story. When the moon is full and a misty shroud of fog drapes the top, The Rock takes on an unearthly appearance.

This is where it all happened.