Saturday, February 13, 2016

Friday, February 12-Santa Cruz Island

A two hour boat ride from the harbor in Oxnard will take you to the Channel Island National Park. We boarded the "Islander" at 9:30 am and headed out to one of the least visited National Parks. The weather, once again, was beautiful and I almost feel guilty because of the cold weather back home. On the way out to the islands we did see one gray whale, or at least we saw the spray from his blow hole. The captain did take us past Anacapa Island to see the iconic arch and the lighthouse. We had hoped to go on the back side of the island to see the elephant seals but because of time constraints we had to get to Santa Cruz.
waiting to board

Tall ships on the way out

The arch of the south end of Anacapa

The Anacapa Light

welcome to Prisoner's Cove

Once we landed, we took the guided hike on the Nature Conservancy's trail to Pelican bay. Sharon and I only hiked half way and stopped to lunch on a beautiful overlook before walking back and checking out the wetlands area. Unfortunately, we did not see the endemic Island fox or the Island scrub jay.

The disappointment of not seeing the fox or scrub jay was soon forgotten when we enjoyed pods of dolphins and Orca whales. What a fitting ending to a perfect day.
Common Dolphin

Orca, Killer Whales

Tall Ships back in the harbor


Friday, February 12, 2016

Thursday, February 11-From desert to Hollywood

We left Ridgecrest, California this morning and drove to LA. The temperatures have been great compared to the 6 degrees at home. By the time we left Hollywood it was 95. Yes, I said Hollywood! I mentioned to Sharon that I had never been to Los Angeles so we made a last minute detour and stopped at the Chinese Theater to see some of the Hollywood Stars and handprints. We  then drove up the coast on scenic highway 1 to Ventura. We were able to visit the Channel Islands visitors center and catch the sunset from the Ventura pier. The pier is the longest wooden pier in California and was first built in 1872.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ash Wednesday-Feb 10-Golden Canyon & Salt Creek

Today we spent a leisurely day hiking the trails we didn't have time for yesterday. We started with Dante's View. This overlook gave stunning views of the Death Valley floor and salt flats. We noticed that the rock formations looked totally different in the morning light compared to the afternoon and evening light we saw yesterday.

The view from Dante's Peak

Furnace Creek Resort and Hotel
Rooms $400-600 per night

Golden Canyon Trail

A hawk perched high above us

View from Red Cathedral

The remains of the 20 mile team Borax company

Tonight we are staying at the China Lake Inn in Ridgecrest, California . Tomorrow we will drive to Ventura in preparation of our next park, the Channel  Islands N P.