Channel Islands National Park – Where The Wild Things Are
They’ve been called the Galapagos of North America, but frankly, that’s selling them short. Five islands that represent the most beautiful step back in history. A world where housecat-sized foxes scurry through fields of Seuss-like plants, and the moon and sun shine down on… well, nothing. Solitude? You can see the pinprick lights from civilization at night, as if they were the campfires of an enormous army. You can breathe in silence while the stars and the sea surround you.
Adventure? Take a deep breath.
Hiking? There are miles upon miles of trails that run along the five Channel Islands National Park islands. Many of them lead to spectacular sea cliffs. Hiking here is, in all likelihood, like nothing you’ve ever seen, starting with vast, breathtaking 360-degree ocean panoramas. Gray whales migrate to the ocean in certain seasons. There are extraordinary views all around. The stunning canyon beauty of Lobo Canyon (Santa Rosa Island), to the aptly named Inspiration Point, (Anacapa Island), offer one of the most spectacular sunset seats on the planet. It is painted in the heavens and daubed, imperfectly, across the sky.
Stand transfixed and alone. Or perhaps with another hand in yours.
Unique? True, the impossibly cute island fox (the kids will jump for joy) is the most famous of the islands’ wholly unique animals, but the Channel Islands are home to over 2,000 plant and animal species of which 150 are found nowhere else in the world–and so “The Galapagos of North America.” And that’s just life on dry land. The Santa Barbara Channel and the waters surrounding the Park islands are alive with life. Did you know that the Blue Whale’s tongue can be as big as an African elephant’s? There are many species of whales and dolphins, as well as orcas and elephant seals. You never know what you’ll find on the islands or on the boat ride out.
Easily accessed? Yep.The closest of the five islands of Channel Islands National Park-Anacapa Island and Santa Cruz Island-are just a 70-minute boat ride from Ventura Harbor, courtesy of Park concessionaire Island Packers Cruises.
There is a fee for the boat ride, but the price of Park admission? Nothing.
And nothing matters greatly. A trip to Channel Islands National Park allows you to escape completely. Nothing can make you feel the sun on your skin. Nothing can make you smell the sea breeze and the brine. Nothing can give you moments that you will treasure for a lifetime . Precisely the nothing you’d expect from one of America’s least visited National Parks.”Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” That was Helen Keller. It can be you, so come visit Channel Islands National Park. There are many ways to feel the beat of your heart.
And isn’t that what life’s about?
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.