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Backpacker Magazine – September 2012

Trail Mix: West

Your region's go-now guide

by: Chuck Graham (Secrets), Nate Seltenrich (Solitude), Dennis Lewon (Bragging), and Rachel Zurer

Point Bennet, San Miguel Island (Chuck Graham
Point Bennet, San Miguel Island (Chuck Graham
Grand 2 Grand Ultra (Courtesy)
Grand 2 Grand Ultra (Courtesy)

Secrets of the Rangers
Point Bennett, San Miguel Island, Channel Islands NP

According to Chief of Interpretation Yvonne Menard, a 25-year veteran of this craggy chain of islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, this 14-mile out-and-back to a world-class wildlife mecca is one of the best adventures in the park. Yet few people do it. “We get around 300,000 yearly visitors,” she says, “and less than one percent visit San Miguel.” September is the perfect time to go: Sea conditions are calmest, and the coastal fog has usually gone away. First, take a 3.5-hour ferry ride to the park’s westernmost isle. There’s no dock, so expect a wet landing and store your gear in dry bags. Bring all your own water and plan to stay at least two nights in the primitive campground (the boat only comes every few days). On day one, spend the afternoon snorkeling in Cuyler Harbor (pack a mask). The next day, take the ranger-guided hike to count four species of pinnipeds (see below) on the windswept beach at Point Bennett. “Every beach on the island has seals and sea lions, but Point Bennett’s rookery is unparalleled,” Menard says. “Expect to see 100,000 seals and sea lions.” Along the way, stop at Caliche Forest to see the gritty sand remnants of ancient trees. Day three, look for evidence of Chumash settlements (piles of abalone shells and sea urchin skeletons) on the east side of the beach at Cuyler Harbor before you return to the mainland.

Contact
(805) 658-5730; nps.gov/chis

Permit $15 per campsite

Ferry Island Packers, (805) 642-1393; islandpackers.com

Pinnipeds are fin-equipped mammals like seals, sea lions, and walruses. You can see four species, including harbor seals, at Point Bennett on San Miguel Island.





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READERS COMMENTS

coco
Oct 04, 2012

Lijiang is located in the upper reaches of the Jinsha River, has a long history, beautiful scenery, majestic natural environment, the descendants of the ancient Qiang, Naxi hometown.
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Old Town of Lijiang 2,400 meters above sea level, is the center of the city of Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County, is one of the historical and cultural city, is a national key scenic spots.
     Here is located in Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibetan roads, ancient times, frequent business travel activities, prompting locals flourishing population, and soon became famous bazaar and town. Generally believed Lijiang city began in the early Song Dynasty.,i hope you will like it!
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AZ Hiker
Sep 27, 2012

Sometimes getting lost can be easier than staying found and that's what makes short hikes the most dangerous. No matter how well they know the trail, many people never consider that they might end up unexpectedly spending the night outdoors or waiting for medical help --and so they hike without the essentials. Felix! the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart (Amazon) teaches essential day-hiking skills, items to pack, how to navigate your way with and without a map or compass, and how to get rescued. Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. A compass doesn't need batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and this book makes learning --easy. This book is for all ages --parents, friends, and children can learn together. It's a fast, easy read that could save your life and will definitely make your hike more safe and enjoyable!

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