Last weekend we decided to take a day trip out to Channel Islands National Park. It’s something we’ve been wanting to do ever since we moved to Santa Barbara last year but we just haven’t been able to make it happen, what with having a new baby and starting a new career and all.
We arrived at the harbor in Ventura with plenty of time to spare before the on-time departure of the 8am boat.
Once we boarded the boat and began our one-hour trip over to Santa Cruz Island (the largest island off the coast of California, by the way), we were accompanied by gloomy, overcast skies and gray, choppy water. Not awesome for me and my seasick tummy, but great for rocking and bouncing our traveling ten-month-old to sleep.
As we neared the end of our bumpy boat ride we were greeted by several pods of dolphins, and I managed to catch one on (digital) film!
After exiting the boat and orienting ourselves to the map of the island, we secured our little baby in the hiking backpack and headed off on a 7-mile round trip hike to Smugglers’ Cove. The beginning was pretty steep and, once it flattened out, the view was not the most exciting. Blah.
At some point during the first half of the hike, though, we were able to see Anacapa Island (which is actually comprised of 3 small islands). Pretty cool.
We made it to the junction we’d been looking for and then continued on our way down to Smugglers’ Cove.
Since our little one had fallen asleep while bouncing on his daddy’s back, we took advantage and enjoyed a few quiet moments eating our lunch on the shore of Santa Cruz Island.
We gave our legs a chance to realize just how sore they were and then headed back up the ridiculous hill we had descended on our way down to the cove (seriously, this hill was out-of-control steep). The clouds had finally started to part as the blue sky burst through to say hello, making the remainder of our hike so much more beautiful and scenic!
We passed through one of the island’s many campgrounds and gave Little Man a chance to stretch his legs and (unsuccessfully attempt to) eat some nature.
After we came back to the junction from the first half of our hike, we decided to take a connecting trail over to Cavern Point. Boy, are we glad we did. What a sight. Kind of reminds me of Big Sur, CA.
It’s so much harder to take self-pictures now that we are a family of three!
With only a half an hour or so until we had to return to the pier to line up for our boat, we wrapped up our 12-mile hike and were treated to another view of Anacapa Island.
We boarded the boat at 4pm and enjoyed a peaceful ride back to the mainland. We arrived an hour later and as my husband and I moaned and whined about how tired we were and how sore our legs and joints were going to be later that weekend, our little baby was like, Freedom!!! After being in that hiking pack for nearly the entire day, he was finally free. We let him crawl around on the grass for several minutes before packing up the car and heading home.
It was a long day of strenuous hiking (literally uphill both ways), but we are so glad we were able to make it out to the Channel Islands! What a fun day. Time to cross it off the bucket list!