Saturday, October 31, 2015

Catalina 2- Trans-Catalina trail

When we stopped into the Catalina Island Conservancy center yesterday we learned a pretty cool trick.  We walked over to a discrete phone just a few blocks away, which directly calls the airport when picked up.  For just 16$ one way we reserved a spot on the 7:30 van that goes to the Airport in the Sky.

It took us about 30 minutes to get to the airport, about 1/3 of the way into the island, and 1/3 of the way into the trans-Catalina trail.

From there (after filling out the paperwork for a free permit) we started hiking.  Besides the gorgeous hike, the goal was to see one of the 250 bison that are on the island (when they exceed 250 they are shipped off of the island).  The bison were brought to the island for a movie filmed in 1924 (although the bison scene was never actually used in the movie).  

We kept seeing signs of bison but there were no bison in sight.  
How can 250 2,000 lb animals hide simultaneously?  

The entire trail is 37 miles.  
We did not see one person the entire time we were on the trail (8 miles).  
When does that ever happen in SoCal?

We hiked up and over the hill behind me, and up and over the hill we were on.  Surprisingly enough, island hiking is not easy.  At one point we were at about 2,000' elevation.  

BISON!  Yay!  Our first bison sighting!  Who would have guessed that they would be out at noon, when the sun's rays are the most direct? 

We saw four bison in total, all of which were lone wolves/ bison.  

After our 8 miles on the trail we walked 4 miles off the trail, it only cut off a few miles of the trans-Catalina route to Avalon but it allowed us some ocean views (few of which are offered by the portion of the trans-Catalina trail that we were on). 

We are on vacation, so of course we are going to snorkel after we hike.

This picture would have been so much better if it wasn't blurry, but you get the idea...

Happy Halloween!

Kids have taken over the island, and they are holding their terrible parents captive.  Scary.  

Catalina Island Brewery, before our 7:30 showtime at the Casino.

The Casino was built by William Wrigley Jr. (the gum tycoon and Chicago Cubs owner) in 1929.  It contains the world's largest circular ballroom (which can accommodate 3,000 dancers).  It also houses a movie theater, which has daily showings, as well as showcases the art of John Gabriel Beckman.  

Friday, October 30, 2015

Catalina 1- arrival, snorkel and dinner

With our ducks all in a row we departed for Catalina Island to celebrate Eric's birthday.  

The amazing thing about Catalina is that as soon as you get there you feel like you are on vacation.  
There are not many snorkeling oppotunities more rewarding than the dive park.  
It is free and stuffed full of fish.

The only problem with the dive park is that the divers feed the fish, and (I am assuming) dump their unused food near the stairs upon their exit so now the fish have become accustomed to eating at the stairs.  These fish literally attacked Eric as he was heading in (I got cold earlier).  

Our last objective of the day was to celebrate Eric's birthday at Steve's Steakhouse (which has a variety of delicious, unsteaky items).  

Happy birthday, Eric!