Camping was a must-do for our California road trip. We weren’t on top of it enough to realize that California camping spots are booked very far in advance and go quickly. So, when I was searching for an open campground the Channel Islands came up, specifically Santa Rosa Island.
Brian had camped on Santa Cruz island in April of 2015, and loved it. When I brought up the idea of Santa Rosa Island he was so excited, I on the other hand, was a little apprehensive.
I camped a lot when I was little, Brian and I have camped some together, but I had never done this type of camping. I always camped where you could use open flame, packing a cooler was a must, and if all else fails you go into town for food. This backpack camping was a whole new experience.
Some background on the islands — The Channel Islands National Park consists of 5 islands, camping is permitted on all of them. Santa Rosa island is located off the coast of Santa Barbara and only accessible by boat or airplane/helicopter. The island is not inhabited other than the National Park employees and students of California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI has a research station on the island). Everything you take on the island you must take off including your trash, meaning packing was limited, something I’ve never been good at. There is no cell service or showers, there is however, running water and a nice bathroom.
To access Santa Rosa island we took a three hour ferry ride through Island Packers. Once you arrive at the island it’s a 1.5 mile hike to the campground. That sounds super easy when you’re planning your trip but it was a lot more strenuous with all our gear.
Once we set up camp we took to exploring the island and the beach. The beach almost looked Caribbean with the white sand and the bright blue ocean. I’m not exactly sure what I expected but I was surprised at how impacted and changed I was by our few days there. I was unexpectedly content and at peace with being removed from social media, texting, and news outlets. Beyond that with so few humans on the island you feel, at times, that you are there alone. It was such a special time to be this isolated, having just gotten engaged. Brian and I had a lot of time to just talk and be with each other. We talked about what we wanted for our marriage, our future, and our family. We talked about silly wedding details and random things we had never touched on. Most of all we were together, just the two of us, and even when we were both quiet, it felt so special and memorable.
On part 2 I’ll share the things I’m so happy we brought and what we could’ve left home along with our hike in Lobo Canyon.