|One of the multiple murders I witnessed on Catalina Island; most were about a dozen birds each.|
These were not little, cute, starling or black bird flocks. These were Edgar Allen Poe's Raven sized creatures who CAWED, CAWED, CAWED, chirped, whistled, and even growled at me when I paused to take pictures, drink some water, and look over the scenery. Each of them could have easily taken a chihuahua into the air with little difficulty. They were eyeing me to see if I was going to drop any food, or wrappers, or anything they could scavenge, and when I only quaffed water they turned their territorial rivalries against other murders who were coming by to see what was happening.
|Hey, you American Foxes!|
It was a very good thing that I paid the $35 extraction fee. It turns out that the road from Avalon to the Airport is NOT a "public road". It is owned, entirely, by the Catalina Island Conservancy, gifted to the Conservancy by the Wrigley family, who used to own the entire island. There's a gate at the upper north end of Avalon before the roughest ascent begins, and if you don't have a $35 bike pass, you're supposed to turn back. I'd read on-line of other bicyclers who "didn't get a pass and never saw a ranger all day". Well, lucky me, at the top of the ascent the Conservancy was sealing the bumpy road with some kind of sticky white, soapy sealant, and I saw at least 8 ranger pick-up trucks during my ride.
The first ranger who saw me cordially asked to see my permit. I showed him the little wallet card the Conservancy ladies in Avalon gave to me, and he went on to press for my green tag bike tag. I told him it kept falling off so I put it in my backpack (as I tried to catch my breath). The friendly ranger smiled, and said "please put it on your handle bars, and I'll stop getting calls about the cyclist without a permit. I've already gotten 3 calls on you this morning". I acquiesced, and put the tag on my bike.
Once up on the crest of the mountain, the road generally followed the crest line towards the airport. It was 8 miles more to get to the airport. I made it mostly there - to within a mile and a 1/2 of the airport before I turned around to head back into town and not miss $2 craft beers at The Lobster Trap's happy hour.
|Yes, there's Buffalo on Catalina Island|
|Another Murder at the reservoir|
|Camera pointing east - those are the San Bernadino Mountains in the distance.|