The prime example is the olive grove that sits directly off the Smugglers Road trail about .1 miles away from Smugglers Cove. Olive Trees, while beautiful, are by no means native to the island; and were planted over a hundred years ago in order to harvest the fruit for commercial purposes. Today, the groves of trees are still standing outside Smugglers Cove in their orderly, neat rows, waiting for a non-existent harvest. While I’m not usually one to celebrate invasive species in National Parks, in this case I’ll make an exception. There’s something about these old trees waiting on the shore of a now-empty island that stimulates one’s imagination while hiking. On a hot, summer day it’s easy to imagine that you have left California, and are hiking one of the Mediterranean islands near Spain; or are in an empty part of the Iberian Peninsula. However, if the scenery doesn’t remind you of Europe, there’s plenty of other ideas that could sprout in your imagination as you pass through the grove. And, even if you don’t imagine anything as the wind whispers to you as it passes through the branches of the grove, the grove is a great spot to sit on either your decent or ascent from Smugglers Cove, as it provides some much needed shade on the hike from Scorpion Ranch to Smugglers Cove.
ast week, I mentioned what I think is the best hike in Southern California – the Scorpion Landing to Smugglers Cove trail on Santa Cruz Island. Even though I listed about twenty gazillion good reasons in the limited space I had about why that hike was the best hike in Southern California, I have some follow up points about why this hike is the best in Southern California. The first of these bonus tips is this: if you have the time, and the energy, there are some interesting ruins along the trail that are quite accessible, and more than a little mysterious. The largest set of these ruins is the ruined oil well that is just off the Smugglers Road, two miles up the trail from Scorpion Landing.
Southern California has a lot of places to hike. From the desert; to the beach; to the mountains; to the high country chaparral; to the seasonal rivers and waterfalls and beyond, there are a lot of places to hike. You don’t need to take my word for it – there’s a plethora of books and blogs out there about hiking, backpacking, and all of the areas that are available to explore. And there should be – there’s so much variety out there, it’s good to get advice not just from one source, but a number of sources. I always tell my friends, and you, my readers not just to take my word for things; but to do your own research and to always do your own exploration, because in my experience, when people do those things, they always make the adventure their own.