Two weeks ago I wrote about my plan to backpack the 36-mile Trans-Catalina Island trail in three days and two nights. The fact that a nonprofit was leading a group across the same trail in six days and five nights made me a little worried, but I didn't have time or money for that trip.
As it turned out, my concerns were realistic, and my plans were not.
Arriving in Avalon on the first ferry Friday morning, my boyfriend and I scrambled to get our bearings. No detailed maps of the island were available at the Catalina Island Conservancy office. (I had tried REI -- no luck.) Campsite reservations had to be confirmed at a hotel a few streets over, and various strangers helped lead us out of the town in the direction of the trail head.
Already we had the feeling that we weren't in a state or national park. According to Wikipedia, the island was owned by the Wrigley family beginning in 1919. In 1975, their company gave 88% of the land to the conservancy, which Philip Wrigley helped create. While conservation is a priority on Catalina Island, tourism appears to be a bigger one.
During the first leg of the road uphill to Blackjack Mountain, vehicles headed to Catalina's new zip line passed us frequently. After we passed a gate, the trail became fairly desolate; a few vehicles, but no other hikers.