Words by Grant Puckett. Photos by Grant Puckett.
I found it shocking how many of my friends had never been to Catalina Island before, especially those who were born and raised in Southern California.
With very few preconceived notions, we set out on a ferry from Long Beach to Avalon (Avalon is the more populated and developed option of the two cities on the island). The ferry took an hour, the weather pleasantly overcast, which tends to be my favorite weather for shooting photos.
We flowed with the spontaneity of what the island had in store for us. The 12-year-old inside me gleamed happily when I found out that golf carts were the primary mode of transportation for Avalon. We ripped around on these majestically sizable toys all day in order to see everything the city had to offer: rock climbing, hiking, cliff jumping, mountain biking, and zip-lining. There are plenty of activities to keep any outdoor enthusiast entertained for quite some time. One of my favorite sights to see was the stunning Wrigley Memorial, which was oddly reminiscent of jungle temple ruins.
Still, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. It seemed as though an overwhelming majority of visitors were sucked into the allure of overindulging and buying souvenir T-shirts as opposed to actually enjoying the beauty of such an adventurous island. I encourage all travelers to go off the beaten path when visiting, avoiding the overcrowded trinket shops that line the main streets, reminiscent of a mediocre amusement park.
“I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. The majority of visitors were sucked into the allure of overindulging.”
We only had the chance to explore a tiny section of the island in one day. It seemed as though life on Catalina travels at a different pace and the locals walk around with a certain friendliness that is hard to come by anywhere else in California. It was a much-needed break from the Los Angeles hustle and an excellent way to bring in the new year in our Teva boots and shoes.
On the return ferry home, my friends and I agreed to come back to Catalina in the near future. We made plans for a backpacking trip, traveling from Two Harbors to Avalon on the Trans-Catalina Trail, roughly a 37-mile journey through the undeveloped wilderness of the Island. Which begs the question: Who’s coming with us?
Grant Puckett is a Los Angeles-based lifestyle photographer who has united his passion for adventure and the creative process. Shop his shoe picks and more at Teva.com and #StrapIntoFreedom @Teva on Instagram.