Follow me on my trip in a Cessna 152 above the wonders of the American West.


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 reservation

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.

An nice animated image of the airport showing the dangers of the runway when landing - a must-see!- 120 KB.
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.

Spectacular picture of me landing, taken from the cockpit, where you can see for  yourself that when landing you think that you're running out of runway. Don't miss this one !
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.

Advertisement-like picture of the beautiful Santa Catalina Airport.
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.

Picture of the Marina, with boats and sea gulls.
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.

Close up on buffalo (?) footprints.
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.

Picture of the landscape around the camping ground, a hilly savannah  with brush  and cactuses.
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.

Go 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


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