Portezuela Grade, Santa Cruz Island

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Portezuela Grade, Santa Cruz Island [Sp., pass between hills], the steep incline at the eastern end of the Portezuela Valley where the road drops in elevation down to the Valley floor containing the Main Ranch.

When Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History director Ralph Hoffmann visited the island for a week in March 1932 to stay in a cabin near Picacho Diablo:

“The party’s bedding and supplies were taken on a wagon from the wharf at Prisoners’ Harbor to the foot of the Portezuela Grade, but from there to the top a more primitive method of transportation was necessary.” Due to the season’s heavy winter rains, “the road up the grade reverted in many places to its original condition of a steep stony hillside.” “Sledges without runners and drawn by horses were used to drag the supplies up the last two miles.” A few rare Fremont cottonwood trees (Populus fremontii) and the rare chaparral clematis (Clematis lasiantha) are located at the foot of the grade.