My lovely bride dropped me off at the Catalina Express terminal in Dana Point after having lunch together. Thankfully the ferry was not too full so I did not have to store my backpack with the other passengers’ luggage. The boat ride over was fairly smooth, so I took a small nap. As we approached the dock at Avalon, it was still occupied, so the captain took us on a short cruise up the coast to kill some time. After disembarking, I grabbed my photo of the Catalina sign and headed over to one of the two spots to buy camping fuel. I later learned I picked the right store as Chet’s Hardware had run out. I checked into the Hotel Atwater. While many might camp at Hermit Gulch or plan for early arrival on the island, I treated myself to a real bed. When I booked the trip I had hoped one of my hiking friends might be able to join me. Unfortunately, no one could.
I wandered around the heart of Avalon and took a stroll to see the old casino. This is the iconic building you see in almost every photograph of Avalon. I skipped shopping in the various stores as I was not about to haul some knick-knack for 40-plus miles. I found a Mexican place for dinner and relaxed. Afterward, I grabbed some ice cream and watched the light fade over the ocean. Since I planned for an early start, I did not plan to go hit any of the bars, and turned in for the evening.
Day 1: Avalon to Blackjack Campground
I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest.