Sunday, March 20, 2016

October 8, 2015 Hiking The Channel Islands National Park

This is the sunrise we woke up to at the Ventura Harbor today. After breakfast we picked up sandwiches and snacks for our trip to Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park.

On our boat ride to Santa Cruz we passed this oil rig, a few seals or sea lions and...

...this huge cargo ship heading back to China. According to our captain, this ship is full of empty containers because when it comes from China fully loaded it rides much lower in the water. As you can see the ocean was very calm. The captain said it doesn't get any better than this. So we got very lucky today. Blue skies and smooth sailing.

We got dropped off at the Scorpion Anchorage on the east side of the island.

Some people came here to kayak, camp or hike. We are here to go hiking. If we had more time camping and kayaking would be fun out here.

Before this was a national park, some ranchers raised livestock here. There were no natural predators and no need to put up fences. In the 1980's, they sold the land to the NPS.

We decided to hike up to Cavern Point on the Cavern Point Loop trail.

The view never changes unless you are the lead dog. That was okay with me.

We quickly got up high enough for great views of the beach.

I don't think this project has been a success.

It was a beautiful day for hiking.

We headed out to Potato Harbor along the North Bluff Trail.

But first a quick selfie.

We had a high sky with light clouds all day long.

That little dot in the middle of the picture is Chrissy. I guess she is in a hurry. I'm enjoying the incredible views.

We could here the kayakers talking way below us. There wasn't anything out here that made any noise except us.

That little dot at the top of the ridge. That's me. Just breathing in the fresh ocean air, enjoying the sunshine and loving being so isolated from the rest of the world.

Eventually, I caught up with the lead dog. Still a great view.

We heard a ranger led group hiking up to Cavern Point from the valley.

Looking back at Cavern Point.

A fishing or crab boat. There are a bunch of cages on the back of the boat.

Since we hiked along the cliff trail...

...these two passed us on the main trail.

We continued out to this bluff to eat lunch...

...with this great view.

Still falling behind Chrissy.

Finally settled on this table for two and ate lunch...

...looking back at Cavern Point on the far left.

Chrissy spotted this island fox which is native to Santa Cruz Island. She was lucky enough to get this picture before he disappeared in the tall grass.

Great sky for pictures out here.

It seems the California drought has been devastating even out here. It seems strange to be surrounded by water but have such dry land.

Even Chrissy loved the sky shots. I might have photobombed her on this one.

We continued out to Potato Harbor.

Even under these tough conditions, this flower has bloomed. Flower power indeed.

We were running out of time. We had a boat to catch. So we headed back along Potato Harbor Road.

Which took us back to the beach through the interior valley of the island.

Chrissy led the way once again.

I stopped often to "smell the roses".

Up on the wind blown bluffs, knee high grass was the tallest vegetation we saw. But down in the valley, near the campground, we saw some impressive trees.

This tree was one of the strangest trees I have ever seen. There is a main trunk or possibly a huge root that runs along the ground that has several trunks or branches growing upward from it.

Enjoying the cool shade.

Hiking through Scorpion Canyon, where the main ranch once was and campgrounds are now located, to the beach.

I think this was at a ranger's house.

There are quite a few relics from the ranching past that are scattered throughout the valley.

Back at Scorpion Anchorage waiting for the boat... I took off my hiking boots and socks and went into the water.

Back the mainland, we stopped at the visitor center. Then we headed south to my parents house.

But first a beach with the sun setting across the Pacific Ocean... looks like my parents will have to wait a little bit longer.

Chrissy soaking up the last blast of sun for today.

Look at those waves, perfect for body surfing.

I was so excited I must have wet myself.

We had every intention of driving straight through to my parents house. Then I saw this sunset in my rear view mirror. Of course I had to stop again. 

Thirty minutes later...

...and about 50 pictures later. We were on the road again. We started and ended our day with beautiful views of the sun crossing the horizon. We finally made it to my parents house...

....and as you can see my mom was so excited to see us.