Catalina Revisited (Pt 1 - The Road to Little Harbor)

These photos are nearly a year old...Memorial Day weekend 2014 to be exact.  I had a lovely weekend visiting Prestyn on Catalina Island which included some much needed (and deserved!) relaxation for the both of us.  I love this place - the stillness, being so close to nature...and you can't beat those adorable bison and foxes.  Reflecting on this trip is making me especially sad and nostalgic because Prestyn will soon be leaving us for at least 6 months to save sea turtles in Costa Rica! I am so incredibly proud of her and excited for her upcoming journey.

Catalina: Part 3 (the end)

Lately, I've been examining my life and myself pretty closely (I don't know why I said 'lately' as I over-analyze on the regular). I've been trying to be in touch with the things that truly make me happy - things I want to do because they make my heart full, they bring me peace, and make me feel like myself.  I'm not quite sure if it's that the weather is warming up, but I want to be outside all the time.  Growing up less than a mile from the beach, having sand between my toes just feels right.

There was a moment, on the boat to Avalon, where my heart swelled with happiness (Prestyn has captured this in an Instagram which exudes joy).  Being on the water, with a friend that I love so was hard to imagine a peace that felt better than that.  Although my trip was short, it was restorative.  It brought things into focus because I wasn't being pulled in a million directions from work and other obligations.  I know what I want - I want to hike, I want to play in the waves at the beach, I want to read, take pictures, eat fabulous meals, and laugh and discuss every part of life with my friends.  I want to be connected to music, I want to write, I want to find balance.

This week and in the upcoming weeks, when I have a hard moment (which seems plentiful these days, life is stress city), I will think back to the beach.  To the Garibaldis in the cove when snorkeling.  To the sea lions playing as I paddle boarded.  To the millions of blues that the ocean and sky provided.  I will see you again in a few weeks, Catalina - and I can't wait!

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Morgan + Kyle
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Morgan wouldn't let go of my hand for the picture, so cute
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our snorkeling spot
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the cross
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taking a boat to my express boat in Avalon
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I want this in my life
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rainbows follow beauty
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photo by Jordan...our goodbye :(
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I like pictures of the USA flag in the breeze, ok?
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a very short visit
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watching the sun lower in the sky was breathtaking
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you're welcome
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a casino turned schmancy movie theater
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Goodbye, Catalina

Catalina: Part 2

Life here is a poem.  You can hardly tell where the ocean meets the sky, everything is such a dazzling color of blue (and it really makes you understand why Catalina's airport is called 'The Airport in the Sky" - high above the clouds, you feel like you're on Mount Olympus).  I was constantly in awe of the fresh air, the gorgeous views, and the endemic wildlife.  I was very sad to leave (so sad in fact that after only being there for a couple hours on Friday, Prestyn and I headed straight to her computer so I could book a later boat on Sunday and spend an additional 7 hours there). Below are more photos from our 10 mile hike and some shenanigans involving the touch tank.

Also - I'm ridiculous and I have ANOTHER post about Catalina to follow this because I took 985 total pictures because I obviously have a problem.

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every thistle was covered in spider webs and I thought it was weirdly awesome
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road leading to the airport
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almost there...
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the squirrels are endemic to the island and HUGE
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two of my favorite things: hiking + Hangar 24 orange wheat
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a super cool tile map of the island
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Prestyn and her doppelganger
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yes, we just walked up to strangers planes and no one stopped up
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this succulent is a Live Forever and is endemic to the island
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I obviously like taking pictures of signs
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this unguarded tractor had the keys in it, I was very tempted...
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the sky blends into the ocean
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a fox! one of the 3 I saw there
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Prestyn and the ever adorable Morgan
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spotting foxes didn't get any less exciting
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showing Morgan an octopus
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the cross: a steep hike I hope to make next time
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watching the kids load up on the boat from the dining hall
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the waterfront
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taking a walk on the pier with Morgan

Catalina: Part 1

This past weekend, I hopped on a very slow boat and visited Catalina Island for the first time to visit my wonderful and close friend Prestyn.  She is the Program Director for a camp there, The Catalina Experience.  It was so lovely to relax, get away from work, and have nothing in particular to do.  We went on a 10 mile hike (up to the airport, where we munched on bison burgers and tacos), snorkeled, paddle boarded, and laid out in the sun and enjoyed each other's company.  We caught up about life and work, talked about fish species from the Pacific Coast and dreamed of future travel adventures.  I'm so lucky to have a friend that accepts me for exactly who I am, and who I can share my nerdy side with. Who else would not bat an eye when I shouted "fox fox fox fox!" (we spotted three on our hike, and I couldn't have been more excited)

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a lovely place to lie out
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frolicking in the sand
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Prestyn + the pier at White's Landing
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I started out pretty pasty (photo by Prestyn McCord)
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quails that are endemic to the island, which I grew quite fond of
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Apples to Apples
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prayer flags in Prestyn's hooch (worst word ever)
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I saw three bison while visiting
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the beginning of our hike
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bison spotting
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simply had to take a touristy photo with it (photo by Prestyn McCord)
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funnily enough, this sign pointed to exactly where I saw a bison
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we played a game called Follow the Telephone Poles
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low clouds and lovely ridges
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another bison
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a bison rolling around in his wallow
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Prestyn +her camp in the background
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photo by Prestyn McCord
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funnel spiders never cease to fascinate me
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"I'm lichen it!" - Prestyn (the cutest)
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bison prints/wallow
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we both spent half the hike marveling at the views
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