By popular demand (or the determined maneuvering of a vocal minority), the Murray Group 2007 outing was on the beach on Catalina Island. We stayed for two nights in Little Harbor campground on the west side of the island and surfed, played volleyball, kayaked, snorkeled, hiked, and got salty.
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This is what it looked like while we were waiting for the boat in Long Beach.
Island life can change your outlook, and "Pilot D" Julia Braman began by bestowing our new names. Sawyer Fuller becomes "Fly D", Andreas Ulbig is "Cinema D", and Elisa Franco is "Animal D". Nok Wongpiromsarn becomes "Eventually-always-Nok-implies-D"
Dominic Rizzo, "sleepy D" after a hard night of work on the grand challenge, endeavors to catch a little shuteye before getting to Catalina. Mike Epstein "Dodger D" is behind him.
All aboard! Including all boards!
The Catalina Express ferry
Long Beach Harbor recedes into the distance as we get underway. Nok and Michael are in the foreground.
Nok, Michael, "Nature D" Mary Dunlop, and Andreas
Avalon emerges from the fog.
Close encounters of the van kind. By some miracle they let us squeeze in 3 surfboards and all of our gear ... and 9 of us.
At the airport, halfway to our campsite, we transfered to the classic "Homey G" bus. From left to right: "Pilot D" Julia Braman, Nok, "Nameless D" Richard Murray, Sawyer, Mary, Andreas, Elisa, Michael, and Dominic
Sawyer protects some valuable equipment.
Little Harbor comes into view.
And they haven't upgraded the bus since the summer of '69!
And we've made it. After all that hard work riding in boats and busses, it's time for lunch.
Dominic will scale the structure to set up shade. Ably assisted by Richard and Andreas.
Sawyer found this alpine tent, and we put the best minds to work to figure out -- is it a 2-man or a 3-man? A 4-woman?
The camp now set up, it's time for play. We spy some clean rollers coming in the next bay over and get the boards.
Trying to ignore the bad surfing advice from Sawyer, we get in the water. Andreas on the left catches some whitewater on its way in, and it's either Mike or Dominic or Richard on the right tumbling over it with the blue board. Cowabunga!
Kabobs for dinner, and we finish the evening with some S'mores and a few games of Mafia.
Next morning, we hit the trail for views from the top of Mt. Orizaba. Never mind the fog!
Sawyer and Mary with Little Harbor in the background.
We spy the lofty summit, shrouded in clouds.
Local flora includes prickly pear.
Skip ahead a few hours, and miraculously, we have made it! Michael takes a moment to make an entry the summit log.
(from left) Julia, Elisa, and Mary
We pause for lunch under a tree at the summit, under the only tree for miles. It's pretty warm. "Under da tree. Life here is better, I'll get my sweater, it's eighty degrees!"
We try some cactus fruit. It's not too bad! Sweet, but big seeds though. You get a lot of spines in your finger doing it, though.
Surrounded by cactus, we begin the walk back down.
Here, we are nearly back. We made it all back safely, and tired, after a considerable hike. Total hike length 14 miles. 7 hours!
Elisa and Mary head out for kayaking.
Julia whips up some chili.
Mike and the aluminum foil chili bowl. (and spoon)
Next day, Mike, Nok, Dominic, and Richard lounge under the palm trees, ready to catch the Homey G bus back home.
We are joined by a herd of Buffalo ("bufallo?")
Well i guess the grass IS a little greener here in the campsite, isn't it?
"Animal D" with some of her eponymous compatriots
We return by bus to Avalon
And march through Avalon like any self-respecting mob of pack-laden controls scientists.
Dom begins to blend into the pile of gear.
With a few hours to kill in Avalon, it's time for a scavenger hunt. Can we find a tourist with high socks? Looks like it!
Avalon has a lot of really polite signs. Which team can find the rudest one? Here's one.
Sawyer sez: yep, boat's here.