Sunday, March 24, 2013

Channel Islands Natl Park - Number 33

Channel Islands National Park, March 23, 2012

Pics:  Oxnard, Mandalay Embassy Suites, Anacapa Island, the new Far Western Tavern

Weather: Clear and cool, marine haze

Quote of the day:
A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island

DB has been planning this trip to another national park for months and finally the time is right; after a visit with parental units in LA, it is a short trip up the Pacific Coast Highway to Oxnard, where we spend the night before an 8am boat ride to one of the five islands that make up the Channel Islands NP.  Dinner the night before at Sea Fresh in the harbor: ahi tuna and blackened halibut and veggie rice bowls, shared salad and bottle of wine $75.

We’re there at 7:20am to stand around and admire the harbor and to try and stay warm, temp in the high 50s to low 60s. It takes about an hour for the boat to reach Anacapa, where the boat idles backwards against a thin pier as each person negotiates a short leap on to the landing, followed by 185 steps up the fairly flat small mesa atop Anacapa.

We opt to accompany Joel the volunteer ranger on the short hike (it has to be short, the total of the hiking trails on the island is 2 miles). This is when we find out that the trip for the day before was cancelled due to high winds. PHEW! That was the day we had planned on going until the boat company told DB they had booked the entire boat for drop off of campers, so no NP visits.

Joel does a great job, explaining the history of the islands, why we are seeing so many gulls (they breed in big numbers on the island), the transition from native Chumash Indians to Coast Guard to National Park Service, and of special interest to THB: the challenge of trying to eradicate ice plant (THB is putting his money on the ice plant surviving, just as it is in Monterey County after years of attempts to eradicate it). Total time on the island: around 2.75 hours.
Back on the boat, an hour back to Oxnard harbor and then 2 hours or so up Highway 101 to one of THB’s all-time favorite restaurants for a late lunch (or in this case, a very early dinner) at the Far Western, in its new location in Orcutt (much closer to 101 than when it was in Guadalupe). Steak for THB, hamburger and fries for DB (fries that THB does more than his share of helping out with), two draft brewskies, $50. Perfect!

The last of the "Hawaii" pics

 Some time in February, THB wanders along the south shore and finds a dead barge laying just below the mean high tide line