Not your typical National Park
Thanks Government Our original trip to Channel Islands was scheduled in October. But thanks to the government shut down that caused the park closure we had to postpone. Turns out it is great that it happened after all. The weather turned out to be pretty bad on the original weekend. This weekend, it is nothing but blue skies and warm pleasant weather, albeit super windy.
Pre-check'ed This trip is our inaugural trip for our TSA Pre-check status. We used to think that the best thing since sliced bread is air-conditioned seats. Now we know it is the way travel used to be: quick, civilized, and frisk-free.
Day 1, we fly into Santa Barbara — too lazy to drive up from LA — pick up our car and head to our hotel. Typically we stay in the heart of cities, but this time we our hotel is up on the hills, and kind’a away from the hustle and bustle of town. We like it. And good thing Hertz upgraded us to a Mercedes, otherwise we would have felt like “staff” at a hotel where the little Mercedes was the cheapest car. We have dinner with our friends John and Melissa. It is nice catching up with them. John was our witness at our marriage, and we hadn’t seen him since!
Crop Duster Next, we go to the park. You can get there via a 3 hour boat ride — barf — or take a 20 minute flight. We drive to Ventura and take what appears to be a toy plane to Santa Rosa Island. The little crop-duster is teensy and loud but it gets us there. The air strip is nothing but a trail on some dirt… it is not even flat! We share the plane, and the island, with the pilot and another two couples. For most of the day we don’t see one of the couples, and barely see the other. So we truly have the island to ourselves, and the pilot who kind’a hangs out with us.
Alone After driving us thru the few miles of road there is on the island — a farm, a pier, a house — the pilot drops us off at a hiking trail. The train meanders thru a beautiful valley full of wild flowers and ends up at a ridge top with amazing views of the ocean. We see no one! The we go to the beach, which is equally beautiful. We see no one… until the very end which is when the pilot comes by to collect us all for the short flight back.
#25 Now, we have been to many National Parks… 25 to be exact. Channel Islands NP is unlike any of them. The remoteness makes it inaccessible, so there are no crowds. It is a park, so there are no structures or commercialization. The scenery looks very much like Hawaiian islands. As a matter of fact, we have pictures from Hawaii that very much resemble Channel Islands. Yet the beaches are empty, well, because no one can get to them. The experience is indeed very unique.
Channel Islands, check. Next Lassen and Redwood National Parks, and with that, we will wrap up California’s.