A couple weeks ago I kidnapped myself and took me to Southern California. The initial reason for my trip was to do trail work on Santa Cruz Island, but as it happened I also got to spend a bit of time in Newport Beach with a couple of close friends.
When I lived in California I did hundreds of hours of trail maintenance with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council (SMMTC), mostly in the Santa Monica Mountains, but our group also developed a relationship with the National Park Service on the Channel Islands and have been going out there for about a decade. I’ve probably been out about 6 times, usually for a 4-day, 3-night excursion.
It was foggy this trip, the weatherman said something about “zonal flow”… I don’t know, but it reminded me a little of “June gloom”, only it was cooler and March. I don’t recall it ever being foggy on one of my trips to this part of the island, so it got another chance to make a first impression for me.
The trails didn’t have a whole lot of growth compared with some years, aside from Scorpion Canyon trail. Wednesday’s weed whipping began at the top of the trail. This kind of work is what I come out here for: sweat dripping, covered in plant debris and smelling of gasoline while enjoying sweeping views of the island, ocean and Ventura County. The second best I-like-to-be-useful experience was on Friday: we moved dirt around until we’d fashioned a 120 foot new trail diversion to “keep people away from the bat cave.” There was no sign of Bruce Wayne or Alfred, but we (hopefully) saved the bats and it was rewarding to see the end result.
In addition to the work there were a few other memorable island moments: A hike up to Montanon Ridge, a view of Potato Harbor like I’d never seen it before with the spectacular ever-changing fog, and on the boat ride back we happened upon some gray whale sex. None of my photos came out really, but I can confirm that it did look a lot like this. An interesting bit of trivia is they normally perform this activity in threes.
After the island trip I spent quality time with some friends who were RVing it in Newport Beach for the weekend. I always wanted to sleep in one of those granny’s attic parts of an RV and I got my wish. I also enjoyed some really fun kayaking in the bay past really expensive yachts and waterfront homes.
See more photos on my Flickr.