Hiking with Holly

Catalina: Day 1 – Two Harbors to Little Harbor

It’s a very early start to our day as we need to be at the San Pedro ferry terminal by 8:00am to catch the first ferry at 8:45am.  I also need to ensure that we are the first people in line, so that we can get a good place to sit on the top deck, facing forward.  I get motion sickness and riding the ferry is a little stressful for me.  I decide not to take any medication today as it makes me tired and I have quite a bit of hiking to do.

As per usual, we take the wrong exit and have to backtrack.  For some reason, getting to this terminal is never easy for us.  It is a tense situation, but we manage to work through it and get back on track.  Friends that have been in the car with us during these times have been lucky/unlucky enough to experience this first hand.  I am not naming names as to protect their identities. A few of them might still be dealing with some PTSD.  Haha!  But I digress……


It is a sunny mid October day and it’s  forecasted to be in the mid 80’s.  Normally that would be great, but for hiking on an island that is totally exposed, it’s not the forecast you are looking forward to.  I am happy that the ferry ride is uneventful and I have no motion sickness.  We arrive in Avalon first and drop off a bunch of people.  We pick up a few new passengers and head around to Two Harbors.  I am excited to be experiencing this again and to finally be showing Gannon all the stuff Mary and I did last time.  It is a quiet Thursday morning in Two Harbors and I think we see about a dozen people around.  We buy a few items at the store and look for a good place to each lunch.


We have PB & J sandwiches and some chips.  I wanted something light and easy on my stomach.  For those that remember my SOS Emergency post, I did not want to authentically recreate that scenario for Gannon.  And he was more than happy to make sure that I did not as well.


We start hiking the trail over to Little Harbor.  It is up hill and at first I am thinking it really is not as bad as last time.  We were going slow and steady, taking breaks and not pushing ourselves too hard.  I am optimistic at this point.  And that is my fatal flaw.  I have hiking amnesia.  I always forget how hard a hike is, until I do it again.  The sun is hot and the terrain is very steep here.  There are no switchbacks to help.   You climb straight up.  No shade to give you a break.  We climb and climb, finally making it to the top (or what we think is the top).  The only thing that makes this climb bearable is the views.  360 degrees of blue skies and blue ocean. We have only run into 3 people so far.  2 of them are a couple from Colorado who are used to hiking at high altitude.  They are surprised at how hard the trail is.  You just can’t imagine how hard it is, until you are doing it.  I have to say at this point, I am very proud to tell people that I have already done the whole trail before and was just back to do a small section of it this time.


Once on top of the ridgeline, I start looking for my “SOS Emergency” place.  I think I find it and have to set the scene for Gannon.  “I was right here… and Mary was right here”.  He is shocked as there is no cover and you can see for miles around.  It does feel good to come back now and relive that totally humiliating moment and be able to laugh and joke about it.


The best thing that has come out of hiking the trail today is that Gannon keeps saying what a badass I am.  He is giving mad props to Mary and I for doing this segment of trail and continuing to hike it across the whole island.  He really had no idea it was this hard and was super impressed with us. This is making me feel pretty darn great about our accomplishment.


We finally make it into Little Harbor and find a nice short cut to Shark Harbor where we have a campsite for 2 nights.  It is now 4:00pm and our firewood will be delivered in the next couple of hours.  Shark Harbor is one of the few places on the island you can have a fire.  Our site is on the beach and we are the only ones there tonight.  We take off our shoes and walk in the cool water.  Our tired feet are feeling much better and now it is time to relax, set-up camp, and wait for our firewood to arrive.


I decided to experiment with food for this trip. I bring stuff to make pizza and fruit pies for dinner tonight.  They are both good, but a lot of work.  I wouldn’t want to be doing this out in the backcountry.  I am just too tired at the end of the day.  I like much easier food to prepare and this clean-up was a pain.  We have running water here, which makes things nice, but out in the backcountry, there is no way I would want to be dealing with this.  I guess this would be considered a food fail for me.  But I have brought more stuff for tomorrow, so maybe I will have some luck with those?


We sit by our fire watching the sunset, listening to the waves crashing against the beach.  There is no cell service here and we are thankful for the break.  I wish we didn’t have to go to remote places to feel like we can truly unplug, but I guess that is just a sign of the times…at least for now.


15 thoughts on “Catalina: Day 1 – Two Harbors to Little Harbor”

  1. Hi Holly. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I see how you can reserve a campsite at Little Harbor online, but I can not figure out how to reserve a campsite at Shark Harbor online. Did you have to call to reserve it?


    1. If you scroll down to the bottom of Little Harbor sites, when you are picking an actual site, you will see sites for shark harbor. Kinda tricky. But good, because they are harder to find and less people are there. Hope this helps you find it!


      1. Thank you. I can’t seem to find it. 😦 All links take me to ReserveAmerica. Are the campsites labeled as Shark Harbor? None of the campsites appear to be on the beach and it sounds like the campsite for Shark Harbor is on the beach. Or maybe that campsite is closed in May.


      2. I found them at the bottom of the second page of campsites for little harbor on the reserve america site. 8, 9, 10 are all on the beach. I tried to screen shot it for you, but I cannot paste a photo for you in this thread.


      3. Wow, thank you so so much Holly!! Tricky to find, but I found how to reserve them. Do you just happen to remember that campsites 8, 9, and 10 are on the beach?…because I can not find a campground map of Shark Harbor at all. Campsite 10 is already reserved, so that leaves 8 or 9 for us to book.


  2. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what theme you’re using?

    (and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like
    yours– but the theme slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any feedback) –
    it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!


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