Channel Islands

While the government is shut down and I’m only working part time (while so far not being paid) I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of the wonderful National Parks I visited in 2018!

For no particular reason I’m starting with the Channel Islands. I hadn’t heard about them until I moved to California, which is strange because of how interesting and beautiful they are. Technically there are 8 Channel Islands, including Catalina which is a rather developed resort island 22 miles southwest of LA. The rest of the islands are less developed, and 5 make up the National Park. We got a campsite on Anacapa, one of the smallest islands, for Ben’s birthday in October.

The trip started with a bang. On the ferry ride out we went through the largest pod of dolphins I have ever seen. They were literally as far as we could see in any direction. I didn’t take out my phone but got this photo of them playing in the wake from a new friend.

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Anacapa is the closest island to shore so the boatride was only about 40 minutes in calm weather. The island used to be used by the Coast Guard, and still has a functioning lighthouse that was built in 1932. There is no beach, just a constructed dock and 157 steps up to the plateau.

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We were there in the fall, the height of the dry season, and most of the vegetation had dried out. We’re hoping to go back in the spring when all the endemic plants are in bloom. But there is much more on these islands – thousands of birds nest here including the endangered brown pelican and two families of peregrine falcons. There are also dozens of archaeological sites from the native Chumash peoples who used to live on the larger islands and stop over at Anacapa on their way to the mainland. And of course, there are the breathtaking views.

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To get to the islands you need to book the ferry through islandpackers.com. You can take a day tour or stay overnight if you book a campsite on recreation.gov. There is an endemic Island Fox on Santa Cruz island, and Santa Rosa has six plant species found nowhere else in the world. The next time you’re in LA it’s worth a trip!

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