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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Maher

Late Night Bites and Lazy Sunday Afternoons at the Wrigley Garden

Last night, Chad and I ate at the Lobster Trap. It only offers takeaway now that it recently re-opened after being closed for some time. We finally decided to give in and try it because every time we walked by, we were tempted by the delicious smells of barbequed bacon and crustaceans. The Lobster Trap is on the corner of Catalina Avenue and Third Street. The building of the Lobster Trap is colorfully painted, depicting scenic images of Green Pleasure Pier and the sea life of Avalon. We ordered the Poke Appetizer and the Chili Verde Chicken Burrito. They were very friendly over the phone and when we picked up the order. Six feet apart stickers separate customers and hand-sanitizer is also made available along with sanitized pens. The poke was fresh and delicious. It was an ample meal in a bed of perfectly sticky and fluffy white rice. Very satisfied with the ocean salad and the other seasonings. Soy Sauce and hefty napkins was also provided. The Chili Verde Chicken Burrito was unbelievably delicious. The Chili Verde Sauce is spicy and creamy, and the chicken is tender and moist. The Lobster Trap also offer specialty items such as the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Gourmet Seafood Entrees of the fresh local catch.

To get a bomb breakfast burrito, I recommend Eric’s on the Pier Bacon Breakfast Burrito. The thick satisfying slices of bacon is wrapped in a decadent sauce and comes with chips and salsa. Eric’s on the Pier is located right on Green Pleasure Pier. Chad and I enjoyed the burrito one sunny morning on the beach next to the pier.

The Naughty Fox is a popular place to get exquisite cocktails and late night bites. Recently it switched to take-away only. It is located inside the Bellanca Hotel along Crescent Avenue. It is another place to get your poke fix. The Ahi Poke Nachos is listed on the menu as “sharables." The combination of Fresno chilies and sriracha aioli gives the Ahi Poke Nachos a unique spicy flavor, topped with sesame seeds, crispy wonton chips and avocado, giving it an overall beautiful display. The raw, fresh, sushi grade tuna melts in your mouth with each bite. The light drizzle of shiso makes the flavor pop and the slices of mango adds another sweet flavor, complementing the spicy Mexican and Asian flavors that awakens your taste buds.

One of the most romantic places to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon is at the Wrigley Botanical Garden. It is a peaceful place to sit and meditate among the beautiful variety of plants that grow on Catalina, the chaparral environment that I am falling in love with. Many of the plants are rare and listed as Endangered Species.

Chad and I ventured to the park mid-November. We began our adventure at 10am. We walked under the palm trees that lined the sidewalk of Avalon Canyon Road, which traverses southwest into the canyon of Avalon and ends at the Wrigley Botanical Garden. The fall morning was sunny and warm, and a slight breeze rustled the palm trees. We enjoyed the view of the pink flowers and the manicured lawns of the golf courses. Tasty smells wafted from of the Sand Trap. We noticed many backpackers and hikers traversing to and from Hermit Gulch campground. The church community was holding a meeting at the picnic tables in front of the Bird Park. The Bird Park is closed with only a few working vending machines at the barred-up entrance. It looks overgrown and unkept. A female deer and a buck were idling about inside. They must have jumped the back gate somehow.

Continuing onward we passed a Fire Station (with drinking water available in front of the building). Across the fire station is a baseball field. After a mile of walking, we came upon the Nature Center, which is also closed. The Nature Center is where Chad and I received lectures during the first week of the PIMU Catalina Island Archaeological Field School of 2013 . It was fun to reminisce when we were practicing archaeological techniques such as measuring and mapping sites using the Trimble GPS system. We gained working knowledge of survey, excavation, lab and cataloging methods certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA). We also gained knowledge about the culture of the Pimu’gnans, the Native Americans who occupied the island as far back as 8,000 BP, based on carbon dating of skeletal remains. The Pimu’gnans were considered powerful people. Young shaman initiates would participate in the practice of the Toloache Cult, or the ingestion of Datura to gain insight into the collective consciousness and thus become spiritual advisors to the chief.

Walking past The Nature Center we approached Hermit Gulch Camp. There are many tables, bathroom facilities and places to cook meals. There is also running water available. We noticed that the campground was moderately occupied. Hermit Gulch Camp is also the beginning of the Trail To Sky loop, but you can also enter the trail through the Botanical Garden which is 8 dollars per person to pass through.

We finally approached the entrance to the Wrigley Botanical Garden at the end of the road after a mile and a half of walking. We purchased our tickets at the kiosk window, which also sold chips, drinks, coffee mugs and other paraphernalia for tourists. We walked through the gate of the archway and began reading all of the interesting facts about the island on the display panels of the outdoor information center, such as the geological history of and other species of plant life that evolved on the island. Catalina was submerged under the ocean several times in the distant past, and evidence for this can be seen in the sedimentary layers in the interior of the island at higher elevations, that contain marine fossils and diatomaceous earth, indicating ancient coast lines. The Botanical Garden was beautiful and tranquil and inside the Memorial Building you can enjoy the gorgeous view of the canyon of Avalon. Chad and I walked over bridges and sat on benches surrounded by trees and listened to the sound of birds rustling in the leaves. It was very romantic and peaceful. It was a perfect way to spend our Sunday.

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