In all our years of living in Northern California, we never really ventured south past Big Sur.
And because I desperately needed Vitamin D and wanted islands and mountains (and the tickets were cheaper), we planned a trip to Catalina Island.
Exploring Catalina Island is not easy if you are not there as a backpacker/camper.
Currently, there is a 20 year waiting list to own a car on the island, and renting one by the hour or the day is hundreds of dollars. Tours around the island are also hundreds of dollars.
And because I was still really weak and couldn’t walk long distances, my options felt pretty limited!
But one of the days we were there, we took a shuttle bus to the airport (about 13 miles from Avalon, the main city) where they had trailheads of various lengths.
We chose to do the Airport Loop Trail. We had somehow gotten it in our heads that it was only a mile loop which was perfect for me because I was still very, very weak.
We set off around 3:30pm and knew we needed to be back to catch the last shuttle back to Avalon at 5pm.
We thought we had plenty of time.
The sun setting on my 5 month baby belly.
At this moment, we still thought we had plenty of time… but right after taking this picture, we realized we were lost. It was around 4:40pm, and although we could hear and see the planes and knew we were really close, we knew we couldn’t just cut across the tarmac.
We eventually did find our way back, but it was too late to catch the shuttle.
Once we made it back, we walked around the airport and it looked completely closed and empty.
But thank goodness I had cell phone service!
I called the park ranger to ask if they had any advice for us. The line went right to the fire chief, and he was super helpful. In the end, he suggested calling a taxi company to come get us, and he said to call him back if the taxi company didn’t have any drivers or cars available (only some cars are equipped to take on the road from Avalon to the airport).
Luckily there was a driver willing to come get us. A few minutes after I hung up the phone with the taxi company, the airport manager drove by and offered us a ride. The taxi would have been around $150 (which is a lot for a super budget-focused trip!), but luckily the timing worked out where they hadn’t left Avalon yet and we were able to cancel the hire. Whew!
Justin was the name of the airport manager and he was super sweet.
We even saw two foxes on the way down.
Writing a thank you postcard to Justin:
The next day we visited Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens.
I was too exhausted and nauseous to walk with them so I stayed at the visitor center and watched short films about the island’s natural history.
We ended up extending our stay by an extra night (not because there was a lot to do – there really wasn’t, but because it was quiet and relaxing which was exactly what we needed).
We had a great time, but that’s because our only goals were to sit by the beach, visit with each other, and decompress from the first semester of medical school.
On our way back to LA!0