Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Catalina Wrap Up

Lyle couldn't have chosen a more beautiful place for his wife to run a 10K. He could, however, have chosen a less hilly place. There's very little "valley" on Catalina, it's just big hills and little hills. My legs, surprisingly, feel fine, but my toes are still sore from the runs downhill.

Speaking of hills, do you see the lovely colonial mansion on the hill in the left corner of the photo above? It's Mt. Ada, the former home of William and Ada Wrigley of the Wrigley chewing gum fortune. William had the home built in 1919 when he bought the island. As you can see, there's land above Mt. Ada, but he put into a city ordinance that no home could ever be built higher than his. He's famous for the quote, "We are a five cent business, and nobody in this company can ever afford to forget it." I'm sure that the citizens of Catalina Island were thinking of his five cent business every time they saw his house on the hill.

I also found it funny that years later when William's son Philip and his wife built their own home on Catalina, they chose a different mountain. They lived in the spanish hacienda in the top right of the above photo. I can just see Philip's wife standing on the land where they'd build their future home, shielding her eyes from the glare of the sunshine off the water, looking across at Mt. Ada. For Mama Wrigley to come for a visit, she'd have to walk down a mountain, across town, and up another mountain. "Yes, dear. This will be perfect."

And once again speaking of mountains and of Wrigleys, this is the Wrigley Monument and the high point on the 10K. The 2 mile uphill to the monument I would compare to our local Silverdale Way--not exceedingly steep, just never-ending.

This is the view from the monument tower. Knowing that it was all downhill from there was probably the closest I've ever come to experiencing a runner's high. Lyle came up the other side of this hill, with only two miles left in the marathon. When we visited the massive monument the next day, he said it didn't even look familiar. I think after 24 miles of hills, he was just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other.

I also have to wonder if he maybe passed bison along the way, but didn't notice those either. There's a herd of about 150 that roam free on the island. In the 1920's, a film crew brought 14 buffalo to Catalina to shoot a silent movie, but when they packed up and left, no one bothered to bring the bison. Soon there was a herd of 600, a bit much for one island. Now they ship any extras off to South Dakota, probably where Lyle has plans for our next surprise marathon adventure. I can just see one of the bison eyeing Lyle, "Hey, didn't we meet on Catalina?"

As we waited for our ferry back to L.A., we marveled at a home lower down on the hill. This was one of the very first homes built on Catalina Island, by an engineer who camped out for a year and built it "with the help of his horse, Mercury" (according to a Catalina history book). From early photos of the island, I saw that they actually used to have a decent-sized front lawn, someplace for Mercury to graze. The massive retaining wall came later.

He called his home "Lookout Cottage", but if you click on the photo to see a close-up of the front porch, it shows that he may have run out of steam. Or maybe that was the part Mercury helped with.

In case you're wondering why I'm not in any photos of our weekend get-away, I want you to know that I did try. Unfortunately I only had my 50 mm fixed lens and it has limitations.

It was a great weekend, but I'm happy to be home. Cholita told me yesterday morning at breakfast, "When I'm a grown-up mom, and Dad wakes me up and tells me he's taking me on vacation, I'll say just like you, "What?!"

I love how she assumes that when she's a grown-up mom, Lyle will be the one taking her on surprise vacations. If she turns into a marathoner, there's a good chance.


Julie said...

So glad you are still alive to post about it!! Very interesting, the Wrigley's. I feel like I've had my history lesson for the day!! Love your writing!!

Katy said...

I went to Catalina on a graduation trip after high school. My friend and I went exploring and got stuck on a cliff and had to be saved by the local search and rescue! Great times.

Tammy said...

Thanks for the tour of the island. I loved the photos. I wish I had taken a trip to Catalina Island when I lived in California. What a fun surprise! Way to go Lyle!

Miss Ashley said...

Lurker here... just wanted to say I understand your probably busy settling back in after your Catalina trip, but I can't wait to hear more from Lucy's trip.