We did this hike last year in July. Our Trans-Catalina adventure was a 2 night backpacking trip which started from Avalon. We got in the earliest boat to leave for Catalina on Friday, docked around 7:30ish at Avalon and started the trail immediately from Avalon. From Avalon to Blackjack Campground it's no so difficult. I mean it's strenuous...but it's not that bad. Hiking this time of year it's important to watch out for poison oak that loomed around the trail where Hermitt Gulch Camoground is and at times, they are very hard to notice so yes be mindful and KEEP IN MIND the saying: "Leaves of three, leave it be". Or at least that's how the saying went. Reached Blackjack Campground around 5pm. So as you can see between 7:30-5pm is a pretty long 14 mile hike. Besides me and my husband there was only another group of 5 backpackers on the trail and that was it.
Blackjack Campground-Airport in the Sky: This hike consisted of a very easy 2 mile hike. Got up at 8am, had breakfast and left the campsite around 10:30. Got to Airport in the Sky around noon and obviously we had to try the Bison Burger. Hung out here for about an hour, rested our feet, had some awesome chocolate chip peanut butter cookie (also bought another one for the road as a motivator) and we were on our way).
Airport in the Sky-Little Harbor Campground: This consisted of a 5.5 mile hike, and this is where the fun begins. From Airport in the sky you're on a trail for approx 1 or 1.5 miles then you hit a dirt road but don't let this fool you. This road is a downhill climb. It's definitely necessary to have trekking poles or your knees will hurt like crazy. Every now and then you get an uphill break and it goes back downhill. From then on to LIttle Harbor Campground, your hike is pretty flat.
Little Harbor Campground-2 Harbors. So here you have a choice: 1) take the 7 mile dirt road to 2 Harbors which is easier but it'll take you longer OR 2) take the Ridge Line Trail which is 4.5 miles to 2 Harbors BUT it's a lot more difficult. Seriously...if you start early enough and have plenty of time, TAKE THE RIDGE LINE TRAIL. You will never forget the view. The ocean will always be to your left and although the hills are steep and I mean pretty steep, the huffing and puffing is worth the spectacular scenery. Reached 2 Harbors by 7pm and there was enough daylight to pitch tent and eat dinner.
All in all we did 26 miles of the Trans-Catalina's 37 miles and we plan on coming back to finish it off. If it had not been for the obvious work schedule, it would have been epic to do the whole trail. ***NOTE*** Although they say that the Trans-Catalina is 37 miles you still have to backtrack to get back to 2 Harbors and take a boat ride back to the mainland which makes this grand total of a little over 53 miles. Unless you're rich and happen to have your own boat waiting for you on the other side of the island. :o)
1) Carry light, I cannot stress this enough. I think my 24 lbs pack was too heavy so now I know to be an ultralight hiker.
2) Cut out what's not necessary. Moleskin, tylenol, bandages ARE necessary.
3) Don't count miles. You start counting and you start getting discouraged
Hmmm that's it for now. Since I'm writing this a few hours after getting back from the Catalina means I was pretty stoked about this backpacking trip so photos to come shortly!
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