Adventuring

Adventuring: Backpacking on Santa Cruz Island

At the end of August, my man-friend and I ventured off to California. This was my first time in Cali! We flew into LA and spent the day doing the touristy-LA thing before heading to a hotel in Ventura to pack up our backpacks and get a good night’s sleep in preparation for our 2 night stay on Santa Cruz Island.

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Santa Cruz Island is the largest of eight islands that encompass Channel Islands National Park – one of the least visited National Parks. And I don’t know why that is because it is mind-blowingly beautiful!

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We took a ferry to Santa Cruz Island in the morning. The dock had been damaged by a storm, so we had to take a skiff to shore. The crew on the ferry loaded all of our gear onto a skiff after everyone was off the boat, and brought it to shore. We all formed a bucket brigade line and unloaded everyone’s gear from the skiff. That was a cool experience by itself!

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We gathered our gear, hiked to our campsite, and set up our little jelly bean tent – home for the next 2 nights. Each campsite had a fox box because the Island Foxes are everywhere on the Island and will get into your stuff (and pee on it). The little foxes are about the size of a house cat and are so adorable!

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After setting up, we ventured off to explore the Island. We hiked up to El Montanon, which is the highest peak accessible to the general public on the Island, sitting at 1808 feet. The views along this 9-mile hike were breathtaking!

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The next morning we went on a guided sea cave kayaking trip! I don’t have any pictures from this because I was worried about my phone getting wet, but the pictures in my memory are outstanding. After landing our kayaks, we strapped on some snorkel gear and dove into the pacific ocean to see what we could find – stingrays, tropical fish, dancing kelp at the ocean’s floor, and even a seal who popped its little head up about 20 yards from us. The kayaking and snorkeling were epic experiences!

After a half day on the water, we hiked around some more to see as much as we could of the Island before calling it a night.

The next morning, we boarded the skiff to the ferry to head back to the mainland. On the way back we came across a megapod of dolphins – hundreds upon hundreds of dolphins!

Santa Cruz Island is a very special place. I feel so lucky to have been able to witness its beauty.

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Stay tuned for a recap of the most difficult hike I’ve ever been on…

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