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RARE Channel Island Fox

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Channel Island Fox

The Rare and Endangered Channel Island Fox only exist on a few of the Channel Islands off the Coast of California. There are less then 100 left on earth.

The Channel Islands are made up of 8 islands off the Coast of California. Most of the islands are part of the Channel Islands National Park, and are highly protected both on land and in the surrounding ocean. If a ranger finds that you have left out food, or don't properly contain your trash, you will get a hefty fine. What makes this difficult is the Island Ravens love to go through your gear and take stuff. Making a mess while doing so. You thing you will be smart and put your food or valuables in a zippered pocket of your pack, jokes on you. The ravens will unzip pockets and take what they want. The fines even get steeper if you are caught feeding wildlife and the wildlife are not afraid of humans and will follow you around.

Santa Cruz Island is the larger of the islands and hosts a museum, 31 site campground and numerous hiking trails around the bay and across the island. You can also do diving, snorkeling and kayaking along the coast.

I had planned an Adventurous weekend on the Island, arriving on a Friday and leaving on a Sunday. Our adventure was to include Kayaking the coastal sea caves, hike the sea cliff trails, take photos of the local wildlife and landscapes and camp a few nights. All these activities required a bunch of gear and water (no water source at the campground) for the weekend. The downside to this is when the ferry drops you and your gear at the Scorpion Bay dock you are not allowed to leave your stuff unattended. So, you A) haul everything at once to the campground or B) take turns carrying stuff back and forth while someone watches the other gear. Oh, and the kicker is the campground is a half mile from the dock. We opted for A) and left the kayaks on the beach and huffed it to the campground.

Day 1

The on duty ranger meets everyone at the dock and gives the speech about all the rules and asks everyone what there plans are. We left the kayaks on the beach and hauled everything else to camp and setup everything. We stashed everything into the tent and took off exploring the coast to figure out the next days Kayak departure and path. I had kayaked this location before so planning was done quick and we took off on a short hike to Cavern point for some coastal dusk shots.

Day 2

It had helped kayaking the Santa Cruz Island coast before and learning that winds from the north come in the afternoon and make it very difficult returning to the bay. Also to keep in mind is the tide, because some of the sea caves are inaccessible at high tide. We took off

Sea Cave

from camp early in the morning and set sail north along the coast to Potato Harbor. Along the way you will encounter many curious sea lions and seals. Sometimes the littler ones are so curious they want to jump up on the kayak. On the return trip we explored the numerous sea caves and used the wind to cruise back to the bay. An added bonus is as come up on the Bay you will see a small island near Little Scorpion Bay. As you come up on the little island you will see a small cave at the tip. This cave will take you all the way through and at certain times of the day the sunlight will make everything look green on the inside. This is the Green House cave. You will most likely be fitting the wind back to your starting point, so save a little energy for this. In all the total kayak trip was a little over 5 miles and 6 caves.

Day 3

The boat wasn't due back until the afternoon so we decided to get pretty much everything

Sea Cliff

packed up and stashed in the tent to allow us more time for a hike. We decide to do the Scorpion Canyon Loop trail, starting by the Museum. Not far from the trail we came up on the little fox (the above photo) wandering down from the sea cliff area. We stopped and kneeled down to get photos of the little guy. It was the perfect subject and didn't move an inch. The total length of the loop was just under 8 miles. While hiking you do have a chance to see Eagles or Osprey flying (Check out the Photo) by once in a while. We made it back to camp and dock just in time for the ferry back to Oxnard. They do tell you when you land that if your not at the dock when the boat arrives you will stay until the next one and in this case that was the last boat for the day.

Trip Notes
  • Be sure to take a climbing helmet or a cycling helmet will work too if you are going to kayak the sea caves. You will bang your head on some rocks, and the sea rocks are very sharp.

  • A bear canister is highly recommended. Because like many locations in the Sierra mountains, you need one to keep the animals out of your food and trash. Here it's the same.

  • I don't recommend doing any of the longer hikes in the summer. The only shade is at the campground.

  • TAKE ENOUGH WATER for your trip, there is no water for visitors on the island.

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