Tag Archives: nature

Channel Islands National Park: Kayaking Around Santa Cruz

During our camping trip to Santa Cruz we decided to take a kayaking tour around the island, exploring caves, admiring the beautiful scenery, learning about the history and geology of the island, and spotting wildlife in and out of the water.

Lucky for me, my nephew, Lucas, decided that he would love to go kayaking with me. We listened to the orientation, and then hopped into our double kayak to start cruising around the island.

Not so lucky for me, after about 30 minutes in the kayak, Lucas decided that he was good for most of the remainder of the trip and didn’t really need to paddle anymore. I got quite the workout maneuvering a double kayak mostly maneuvered by me, especially when we rounded the one side of the island straight into a nice headwind. My brother went into this excursion thinking he’d have it tough partnering with Camille, Lucas’ twin sister, but he certainly had the last laugh 🙂

Although my arms were couldn’t move for the remainder of the day following our kayaking adventure, it was truly an epic experience, and one I will not soon forget.

Navigating in and out of the caves was thrilling and beautiful.

The clarity of the water around the island is so incredible, you could see wildlife under the water from sitting in the kayak.

We got a visit from a curious and brave seal pup right off the side of our kayak. We also learned a lot about the interesting history of the island and its change from a Native American hunting ground to a private ranch, and finally to a National Park.

The tour company we booked this excursion with was called Aqua Sports, and they were great, however, I can’t really compare to the other tours aside from that they went a similar route as we did along the island, but didn’t seem to see quite as much as we did. The other tour companies include Santa Barbara Adventure Company and Channel Islands Kayak Center.

Another more budget friendly option for kayaking can be to rent or bring your own kayak over on your ferry. The most convenient option would be to rent from Island Packers. They do charge a small fee to transport the kayaks to the island, so if you rent kayaks, you will have to pay the cost of the rental and the cost to transport them as well. If you’ve never kayaked around the islands before, it’s definitely worth it to have the guides’ extensive knowledge of the island and the experience of navigating through the caves, as the tides can make it quite a challenge to get into and out of some of the caves.

During your visit to the Channel Islands National Park, I highly recommend spending some of your time out in the water around the islands. It’s truly an awesome experience.

Local San Diego Review: Hiking in the Cleveland National Forest

A mere 60 miles from San Diego lies the Cleveland National Forest, a playground for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and backpackers. We recently spent 2 nights at the Laguna campground (checkout my review) and hiked various trails in the area.

We could walk just a few minutes out from our campsite in the Laguna Campground to all of the major trail heads in the area. It was awesome!

Using our guidebook A Foot and Afield in San Diego County by Jerry Schad and the National Forest map, we trekked across a good portion of the available trails. On the map below, we outlined all of the trails we hiked during our trip (the “O’s” outline the hike for day 1, and the “X’s” outline the hike for day two).

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Local San Diego Review: Laguna Campground

Laguna Campground is located in the Cleveland National Forest just under 60 miles from the city of San Diego. Close enough to spend more time camping and less time driving, yet far enough away to relax, unwind, and explore. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised and had an incredible experience camping here.

To get the to Cleveland National Forest you can either take the 78 through Ramona and Julian to Sunrise Highway or you can take the 8 East toward the desert to Sunrise Highway, depending on which part of the county you live in.

In my opinion, Laguna campground is probably one of the best campgrounds you could chose in the Cleveland National Forest area. The campground is pleasant, beautiful, peaceful, and so close to miles upon miles of great hiking trails. I could imagine that a weekend would be busier, but we were camping from Sunday-Tuesday, so crowds were nonexistent. In fact, there were only a handful of people staying on the entire campground. If you can avoid the weekend, I would highly recommend it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Forces of Nature: Sun & Sea

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge encouraged me to share a local example of a force of nature. I chose incredible force of nature of the sun setting over the sea.

Sunsets are my absolute favorite part of the day. They happen every day, and are easy to take for granted. However, they are inspiring, calming, relaxing, and rejuvenating. Nothing gets better than sitting on a beach, boat, or cliff overlooking the ocean and watching the sun disappear into the water.

I am lucky to live in San Diego, California, where I can witness this amazing force of nature every day.

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Forces of Nature

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