Through many year s of traveling abroad, I have learned that getting out and experiencing what the world has to offer, is the most efficient way to learn. Though I would love to share all my journeys to Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and one of my most favorite trips, the Amazonian Rainforest, I want to share a destination that is close to home and very rewarding. Santa Cruz Island, the biggest of the eight Channel Islands is located off the coast of California and has proven to be one of my favorite trips. I hope through what I have experienced I can motivate others, just as I have been motivated, to get out and experience life and most importantly, learn from what the world has to offer.
Working with Friends of the Island Fox I like to get out and study the endangered island fox in its natural habitat. Santa Cruz Island, in my opinion is the best place to study them, which is why I travel there at least once every year. I reserve a spot on a boat through Island Packers, reserve a camp ground at the Scorpion Anchorage and get ready to once again learn about the island fox. My stay on the island lasts about seven days and my routines are basic. Early morning I go out and hike, either a longer hike out to smugglers cove, about a 10 to 14 mile hike with some other small trails added in, or a shorter more relaxing hike out to Potato Harbor. Both hikes offer a chance to see the unique island scrub jay, brown pelicans, and various types of vegetation only found on Santa Cruz Island. Once back in camp, which is usually around noon, I relax and enjoy my favorite part of the trip, observing the island foxes.
The island foxes roam through the campgrounds most of the day, making it easy to observe their behavior, daily routine, diet, coloring, and differences compared to other types of foxes. Despite wanting to sit and watch them all day, I can never refuse a nice swim. A simple pair of goggles and some snorkeling gear can allow you to see, sting rays, schools of fish, coral, star fish, and even an occasional otter, right there in the shallow waters of Scorpion Anchorage. After getting back from my swim, it is late afternoon, and the sun is getting ready to go down. If I am not tired from the days hike and swim, I enjoy going back to Potato Harbor, sitting back, looking out at the vast ocean while watching the sun set. Now that the sun is down the night is alive. The island foxes tend to be active until at least eleven at night. Night hikes on Santa Cruz Island are one of my most enjoyable hikes, it is very cool out, quiet and with a headlamp, you can easily spot an island fox hunting for food, playing, or getting in fights with skunks.
My time on Santa Cruz may be a basic routine of hikes, swimming, and observing island foxes, but sometimes simple activities provide the best experience. I can say first hand Santa Cruz Island provides a wonderful experience, especially if you want to learn about an endangered species. The only way to learn is to get out and experience whatever it is you want; traveling is the answer to curiosity and knowledge.
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