April 28, 2017
We survived our first night in a tent in several years. It all started with a desire to visit the Channel Islands National Park. Being a Californian, I did find it somewhat embarrassing to have never visited one of our state national parks. After all we have trekked around the desert and Sierra parks for years. Unlike the Ahwannee in Yosemite, there are no beds on Santa Cruz Island. We needed to make alternative arrangements.
We have tent camped in Europe and all over the US. We used to backpack but our last time carrying stuff was on the French and Spanish Camino a few years ago. Of course, on the Camino we had a warm bed, a meal and shower and a bottle of wine each night. This trip would be different, even if only for one night. I began by packing at home. The process brought back fond memories of camping as a scout. Back then we got our equipment at an Army Surplus store with real WWII stuff. That meant canvas pup tents, steel eating stuff, duck feather sleeping beds and other real stuff. My packing now consists of high tech fabrics and plastics. Quite a change.
Getting to Santa Cruz Island meant a 20 mile boat ride. Because of high winds and seas, several boat trips were canceled. They launched a camper only boat and we climbed on. We joined around 30 high school kids heading to the more remote Santa Rosa Island. We sat down where the Rangers collected. The kids went to the bow and the top levels. We chose the stern and down low. As we left the harbor and hit the swells the kids shrieked with joy at the E ticket ride. Within 30 minutes, the same kids were lining the railing and feeding the fishes with their breakfast. We were fine by watching the horizon and a with little help from Dramamine for Peggy.
Set up our new backpacking tent. I admit that I gave it a trial run at home. Our family remembers watching people with tent struggles in Yosemite. Did not want that. Sure enough, the newbie campers near us had forgotten their tent poles. I helped the guy jerry rig the tent with some cording. They survived. The cute Islamd Foxes were immediately watching for any mistake. They actually know how to unzip zippers on your pack. We watched a fox unzip a day tripper’s pack and run off with a bag of chips. It would have made a great UTube video.
We took hikes on both days to cliff overviews of the ocean. The winds never stopped but we were fine and didn’t get blown off. It was a good thing since the island is indeed isolated. We would encounter a few folks on our hikes and enjoyed talking with our fellow adventurers. We shared our humble table with a young computer programmer from the Netherlands and hiked the trails with a retired engineer from New Mexico. Interesting people end up in interesting places with the possible exception of us.