Thursday, May 16, 2013

Santa Cruz Backpack - Day 2 - Prisoner's Harbor

Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands NP – 3/18/13 – 3.5 Miles

David was up and moving around early this morning when the curious fox visited again.  The campers next to us had accidentally left a packet of something yummy out and Mr. Fox enjoyed it very much.  David had lots to do, what with cooking his breakfast and enjoying hot chocolate – Jeff and I, not so much.

To protect against windy conditions, a clever setup for cooking with backpacking stoves.

Our tents were covered with dew (the down side of no wind) and we thought we’d wait around for the sun to dry them before packing up, since our hike to our pickup point was very short.  After about 30 minutes of that sitting-around stuff we were crazy bored, so we packed up wet and moved out. 

The walk down to Prisoner’s Harbor included some short but significant ups and downs.

Yesterday’s intense blue sky was replaced by a light gray but rain did not seem imminent.  At our one quick stop for a break (not because we were tired but because a picnic table had been placed at a scenic spot) we caught another fox napping.  He eventually moved along.

First look at our destination, Prisoner’s Harbor.

We had a long wait for our ferry to arrive at 3:00 p.m. and plenty of time for exploring.   After spreading out our tents to dry, Jeff and David wandered off to parts unknown (I didn’t want to follow because I guessed that miles would be logged).  I chose to enjoy the solitude of the cove. 

The prevailing story of Prisoner’s Harbor is here.  In summary, a group of Mexican convicts were delivered here from Santa Barbara in 1830 with the promise of work developing a cattle ranch and living the good life.  Didn’t work out that way.

The beach is all rocks, hard to walk on even in hiking boots, but mesmerizing to sit and watch the small waves wash up and back.  The rush of water back into the ocean sounded like a busy creek flowing by.  Barely visible to my aging eyes, a group of sea lions barked and cavorted out in the water beyond the dock. 

Resident seagulls hangin’ out

I wandered back to my now-dry tent, packed it up and emptied out my extra water (hey, I didn’t run out!) and sat at a picnic table to jot down some notes about our overnight experience.  Another fearless fox strolled by as I captured my thoughts. 

Jeff and David returned from their wanderings and we boarded our near-empty ferry – not empty for long, as the next stop was back at Scorpion Anchorage to retrieve the daytrippers.  Riding along the coastline, gazing up at the huge cliffs of volcanic rock, watching cormorants and seagulls floating on the water amidst long strands of kelp, and marveling at teasing glimpses of two humpback whales, I was overcome with the awesome power and presence of nature.  Imagine what it is like without us humans making an imprint!

At Scorpion we endured a long wait for 60+ people to board and stow their gear, camping equipment and kayaks.  Finally we headed back to the mainland.  Anacapa Island looked small as we passed by.  I was glad we had visited it first. 


Gilligan:  Hiya, Professor.  What are you doing?
The Professor:  I'm making notes for a book. It's to be a chronicle of our adventures on the island... I think it's a book people will want to buy, don't you?
Gilligan:  Sure, I'll buy one. I'm dying to find out what happens to us.

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