Sunday, April 05, 2009

"a vista rimmed in cobalt blue"

Wildlife biologist Kevin Ryan stood on the edge of a rocky ridge in the heart of untamed Santa Catalina Island on Friday, inhaled deeply and admired that has changed little in thousands of years.

Fog drifted off green hills bristling with cholla cactus and spiced with the scent of sage. The loudest sounds were the songs of meadowlarks. About 600 feet below, the ocean crashed on the boulder-strewn base of steep mountains riven by wind and water.

The view lies at the 20-mile mark of the new Trans-Catalina Island Trail, a 37.2-mile hiking route that Ryan, trail coordinator for the Catalina Island Conservancy, designed and helped build with pick-axes and spades.

"In a place like this, it's hard to complain about coming to work every day," Ryan said with a smile.

The trail officially opens today. A decade in the making, it climbs, dips and winds through backcountry largely unknown to the public and essentially unchanged since Tongva Indians roamed the 76-square-mile island.

No comments: