It was a blistering hot July in the southern New Mexican desert town of Las Cruces, with the oppressive heat making the enjoyment of summer seemingly impossible. Four teenage boys and two middle-age dads, all already perspiring, assembled in the gravel parking lot in an attempt to escape the miserable conditions. “Dude, I’m gonna die out here if we wait any longer,” exclaimed N.J. as he peeked out from under his shaggy bangs. “Yeah, I think we all will,” agreed the scholarly Daniel, as the car thermometer registered 92 degrees at 7:30 in the morning. The boys hurriedly threw their gear into the trailer and piled into the white Suburban, jostling for seats and pulling out the various game systems, MP3 players, and portable DVD players.
The Suburban with trailer attached then pulled out of the parking lot, onto a side street, down the ramp, and onto I-10 West. The trip would be nearly 880 miles to their destination San Diego, then Catalina Island. The boys resigned themselves to a monotonous drive through the searing heat of the Arizona desert.
Upon entering the state of California while gazing at a brilliant sunset, the gang sighed in contented happiness as they marveled at the picturesque hills which guided them down into San Diego. They reached the San Diego KOA campground at nightfall and quickly discovered why it is ranked the number one KOA campground in the country. After soothing warm showers and a hearty dinner the exhausted band of dads and teens pitched camp on the carpet of grass and collapsed into deep slumber.
After arising early, they soon reached the ferry parking lot and reloaded their gear and themselves onto the ferry to Catalina Island with eager anticipation. “Boy, the fog is quickly dissipating,” declared Mr. Walker in amazement, as the boys strained their excited eyes to see past the misty curtain while the boat sped out of the harbor. When the fog completely lifted these boys from the desert were awed into silence as they were entranced by their first encounter with the shimmering and massive Pacific Ocean.
After the comfortable and invigorating two hour ride, the ferry boat pulled into the dock at Two Harbors and the boys loaded their gear onto their backs and embarked on the seven mile hike to their destination. They ventured down a quaint, vehicle free road seeing an occasional passive buffalo grazing in the tall grass. Laden down and eager to reach their campsite on the other side of the island, the group happily trekked on. “We’re almost there,” encouraged Mr. Walker.
After about an hour, Joseph suddenly exclaimed, “I can smell the sea!” The boys spontaneously and excitedly broke into a run and crested the hill, where they stopped short in profound amazement and awe. Down below, the sparkling sea with its thundering surf and sun baked beach shaded by magnificent palm trees glistened peacefully. The gentle cool sea breeze immediately refreshed the boys’ lively spirits. With whoops and laughter the carefree boys threw off their packs and sprinted to the long awaited paradise of Catalina Island.
Now it was time to boogie-board, kayak, snorkel and swim. Our crew had come from the hot desert to a true paradise to enjoy the beauty of the sea, moist breezes and soft sandy beach. Over the course of the five days on the beach I saw the beauty of sea, sky and stars. Never had a camping trip been so much fun or worth the wait. I will always remember the summer at Catalina Island.
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