January 11, 2016
Blackjack to Two-Harbors
I wake dry and toasty warm to sun shining on the tent. “The sun!” I say to Hanie who is already awake and has already noticed. We take advantage of the picnic table to dry out gear before heading out. Since we arrived in the dark, it takes us a few minutes to find the trail again [Hint: it’s the super obvious road leading uphill from the central campsite area].
The trail soon departs from the road, plunging into a swampy canyon. The rain has left its mark in rivulets along the trail and large washed out streaks on nearby hillsides. The feeling of PUDs (Pointless Ups and Downs) continues, as we head back out of the canyon up toward the airport in the sky. At the airport I eat terribly runny ‘fried’ eggs. I do not recommend deviating from the limited menu, even for allergy reasons.
The five miles from the airport down to the beach are (and stay) our least favorite on the island. The trail is the dirt road again. Steeper enough that my knees complain, and with too much infrastructure in view. The occasional truck cruises by, making me wonder why we are walking in the first place. Our destination is in clear view, but getting there seems to take forever.
Little Harbor is worth the effort. It’s just us and the super cute endemic Catalina foxes (no longer making creepy noises in the night).
The beach is so perfect, I contemplate staying. Instead, we follow the trail until we are walking the ridge line high above the coast. Finally, the first class views I had been expecting, with ocean on both sides and all to ourselves.
So we walk up the big hill, laughing at last nights’ struggles (definitely type II fun), noting the contrast. There’s a stunning sunset lighting land and water near and far. Burning orange and magenta to the west, pink and purple glow toward the mainland. We spend considerable time discussing whether we are idiots or badasses for hiking through yesterday’s rain, before caving in to the luxury of the historic Banning House Lodge for the night, proving that we are neither.
We have dinner at the bar that’s the only game in town on a Monday night in January. The tacos are satisfying and the staff incredibly helpful. No need to carry excess food, when there are so many other opportunities for eating. The store, though closed earlier than posted. But a woman still working there kindly lets us in so Hanie can buy some meds. We take the shuttle back up the hill to the lodge, too lazy to walk even a half mile that doesn’t count, and sink into a comfy bed.