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Trans-Catalina Trail

March 2021

Anthony, Noe and I assembled in Los Angeles the night before our departure. We were to meet Adam and Zach at the ferry in the morning around 8 a.m.. Surprisingly, our group turned out to be rather punctual, and we all found ourselves waiting for the ferry, which turned out to be late. But eventually, we boarded, and were off the Catalina Island, to hike the Trans-Catalina Trail.


We would complete the 48 miles of trail in two days. But our time to hike was actually quite short, since we didn’t arrive to the island until 11 a.m. and had to catch a 4:30 p.m. ferry ride the next day, lest we be stuck on the island for longer than we bargained for — this would have not been bad news to us, but our employers may have thought otherwise.


We landed in Avalon, a cute little town on Catalina, and started hiking out of town. The island is surprisingly rugged and mountainous for its size. Cacti and short but stout scrubs are thematic of the entire landmass, as are Bison believe it or not. They are not naturally found there, but were brought over for a movie shoot, and enjoyed the island so much that they never left. We picked and were pricked by Prickly Peak fruits all weekend, which was a nice treat as our food supplies dwindled. The quantity of food I bring on trips always seems sufficient and even gluttonous while packing, but wholly insufficient whenever out on trail. This trip was no exception and we were all rationing portions by the end of the first day.


Hiking through Avalon


Looking down onto town

The hiking was striking. We zig zagged across the islands, following dirt roads and some single-track. After several hours, we made it to the more remote parts of the island, and saw very few people out there. We hiked into the night, and camped near the beach at one of the campsites you are required to sleep at. There is no backcountry camping allowed on the island, and between camping fees and the ferry-ride, I was beginning to suspect that someone somewhere was making a pretty penny off this whole operation. The stars were beautiful and we all slept soundly.


The next day we marched along, discussing our schedule and determining whether or not we could add on some bonus mileage and still make it back to the ferry in time. Anthony was holding all the tickets up to this point, but we said anyone who wanted to hike the bonus miles could “take a ticket” and split up from the group. We ended up distributing the tickets amongst ourselves but still used the term “take a ticket” to mean going big and hiking the extra miles. I think it might be a phrase that sticks around within the group for some time.


Approaching an interesting part of the hike where the island thins out to maybe a thousand feet wide



We all ended up doing some interesting routes. Zach, Noe and I summited Starlight Peak and then completed the TCT, finishing in Two Harbors. Anthony hiked all the way to the beach on the end of the island, while Adam did some extra miles with Anthony, but skipped the last island.


We meandered back to Two Harbors with plenty of time to spare. We lounged on the beach and ate. We hopped on the ferry, and when the sun set on the way back to the mainland, it became quite cold. Fortunately we had our sleeping bags, and were practically the only people on the top, outdoor level of the ferry. We laid down on benches and the floor and napped soundly for an hour until touching down back in LA. 


Until next time

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