Sunrise couldn’t come soon enough on this gorgeous day. The sun kissed the shores of Santa Rosa early in the morning as we awoke on board National Geographic Venture. Today’s plan: get to shore and hike! Our Captain and expedition leader made this plan late last night to give our guests the chance to get their legs moving — regardless of the offshore winds blowing to our west. This side of Santa Rosa promised incredible conditions and outstanding views of the open ocean surrounding the island — and that’s exactly what we got!

The pier that allowed access to shore lined up perfectly with several trail heads, including the Becher’s Bay Coastal Trail, which offered various panoramic views of the beautiful island coast. This landing is also home to an old sheep ranch, and several artifacts from those times can still be seen in the area.

Our expedition team and crew offered several hiking opportunities for people to enjoy this marvelous day — casual hikes, moderate hikes, and an all-day hike. The casual and moderate hikes were perfect for those who wanted a taste of this island’s magnificence. The all-day hikers brought sack lunches with them and went on a 7-mile trek into one of the only places on Earth with a forest of Torrey pines. These critically endangered trees are native to this region of California. There are only two groves of these trees left in the world, and our guests enjoyed the opportunity to see them. Some of us even saw the endemic island fox — it was a special day indeed!