Explore Santa Cruz Island
It’s been a while since I’ve immersed myself in nature. I used to hike a least once a week and plan hiking/rafting trips with friends all the time. Luckily, a friend of mine is dating a ranger at Santa Cruz Island and they invited us on a weekend excursion so we could connect back to mother nature.
Santa Cruz island is off the coast of Ventura and part of the Channel Islands National Park. We took the Island Packers boat from Ventura Harbor. When first arrived at the island and it was sunny and warm out. But soon after, it started storming and pouring down rain. We were down at the water skipping stones when a terential downpour began. We stayed and skipped stones like kids until we were soaking wet. Then returned back to the cabin. All visitors were camping, which meant water soaked gear. Since we were guests of Ranger Casey, we had dry cabins to rest our heads.
It stopped raining in time for a short hike for sunset. We took Cavern Loop Trail up to the bluffs to look out over the ocean. It’s a pretty spectacular view. You can see the the clear blue Pacific and lookout over some of the other islands. There are high bluffs all along the coastline. On the way back, it was so muddy you’d get platforms attached to your hiking boots every quarter mile or so and have to stop to stomp them off.
In the evening we Bar-B-Qued and had some steak, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, wine… there aren’t any stores on this island so you have to bring in everything from the mainland. If you're camping, lots of little endangered foxes appear around dinnertime looking for scraps (which of course you shouldn't feed them). They are cute little animals that only exist on the Channels Islands.
Day two on the island was more clear, but very windy. My husband Adam and I took the Potato Harbor Trail along the coastline. It was a tranquil hike, we didn't run into a single person being there in the off season. Off season also meant high winds on the trail. This hike leads you to the majestic Potato Harbor with turquoise waters leading out to wide open ocean.
We also wanted to go kayaking while on this trip. There are tons of sea caves to explore. Unfortunately for us, it was a bit too windy. We’ll go back in the spring to try it out.
It was nearing the end of our weekend, and I hadn’t gotten a photo of the endangered foxes on the island. I finally snapped a shot of one just before packing up to head out. This is "grandpa" fox. According to Ranger Casey he's been around for a long time, and had many accidents where they had to intervene and help the poor little guy out.
Due to the damaged pier, it took about 2 hours to get everyone loaded into the boat to return. Generally the boat arrives back before sunset. For us, the sun was setting as we left the island which was so beautiful to watch as we cruised along the sea back to the mainland.