A western movie was shot here in the 30's. They brought some
buffaloes in specially but after the movie was ended, they just left them to fend for themselves. Now there are hundreds of them on the island, which has become a natural
Santa Catalina Island
Santa Catalina is an island just off the coast of Los Angeles. It is a natural
reservation, and the only non-electric vehicles allowed are ... airplanes. I landed at
this scenic airport before noon.
The airport is on the island's highest hill.
A man in Switzerland had told me it was the most beautiful airport in
America. I agree, but close competitors would be Big Bear and Sedona.
Running out of runway?
As a pilot forewarned me, the runway is on the top of a hill and it is curved, with
the highest point in the middle. That means that when you're landing, you can't see the end of the runway, so you think that at any minute you're going to drop off the edge of a cliff.
This feeling of imminent disaster made me hit the brakes hard and stop the airplane well before the end of the runway. After all a C-152 is not so heavy.
Probably the most beautiful airport in the USA.
On the picture above you can see the giant map of the island at the entrance of the
airport. No cars are allowed on Catalina Island, but you can use electric ones. I took the shuttle to go down to the harbor to eat and register at the camping ground.
Catalina's main harbor
|The shuttle brought me back to the airport to fetch my stuff, and I made the few miles
to the campsite on foot, carrying my backpack.
Buffalo footprints? Well, that's what I thought...
With all the warnings I had received about buffaloes, the sight of these footprints
made me uneasy. If someone can tell me if they really were buffalo footprints, please let me know.
Black Jack Mountain
The campsite beside Black Jack Mountain was deserted except for two people from LA
who obviously hadn't left the city to meet up with people again. I left them alone and settled down near some bushes, making a fire to fight the cold. I heard crazy noises coming
from the bushes during the night. I dreamt they came from a buffalo that was about to charge. What it really was, I still don't know.
|If you want to know more about this delightful island, go to the Catalina Island Website.
to the clickable map to see the other legs and pictures of the trip,
or use the arrows on your left if your connection is slow. Or proceed directly to the