Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Friday - Pinnacles

(warning! lots of amazing pictures!)
We got up early Friday morning, ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast, packed a lunch and lots of water and headed to Pinnacles National Park!
We started up this trail a little after 9:30
This is looking back at the parking lot.
Despite all the cars, we only saw 2 people on the first 1/2 of the trail!
This is what we were looking ahead at.
I started with a sweatshirt and leggings but soon
shed them as the sun warmed the east side of the hills.
The rocks just tower over you.
The rock on the right is the same one the previous picture
was looking straight at.

The silence was awesome.

Then some California Condors flew in to check us out!

We talked to a condor research girl that was watching them
with a telescope.  It was breeding season and this male was
presenting to two females, one of which was his previous
mate - the stay with the same one.  She was all excited and
keeping close track to find out how things were going to play
out!  We got to look through her telescope at them perched on
some rocks.  The average male wingspan is 9 feet!  These
birds are HUGE!

and ugly!  you can see the tag in this picture.
One of these had darker coloring and didn't seem to be quite as big.
The girl confirmed our theory that it was a young male.  The silver
on the under wing grow lighter with age.
This is the younger one.

Looking down the valley to the parking lot.

We would hike for several minutes and then take lots more pictures or just
look at the scenery.  You have to go slow to be able to take it all in, or as
much as possible anyway!  Spectacular!  Awesome, amazing...etc.
This looks like some rugged terrain! 

I forget what these bushes are called, but Matthew
said they were really big up here.  They have a really
pretty redish wood that is smooth.
Everywhere you turn there are magnificent rock formation towering towards the sky!
This formation is called Balconies.
Many rocks have tie-offs for rock climbers.

I went between these rocks to see what the view was on the other side, drop off into the valley.   Matthew had to take off his backpack to be able to squeeze through.

Aaaand, a little rock climbing!

In this one you can see the west parking lot.  We entered by the east entrance.  They are not connected by road, but are by several trails.

There wasn't a REALLY steep drop-off on the other side, but it was still too much
for me to stand upright here!  I was a lot more comfy saddling the rock!

Around every turn were more amazing rocks.

So we had branched onto another path called High Peaks Trail (Steep and Narrow section).
So far it had been pretty much the same as the first part of the trail.  When we got we thought, okay maybe this is it.

Then we got to here and KNEW this is what the 'steep and narrow' was referring to!
Matthew climbed the stairs to where I was in the previous picture and took this looking back.
It completely drops off at the base of those stairs.  Just a narrow ledge to get to them!

Very thankful for the sturdy handrail!
Here they had to build a bridge!

A wilderness of rugged terrain.  Hard to believe there are even trails that can make it through!

This was the last of the steep and narrow part.

Looking back where we came from.  Incredible! 

This one reminded us of the tie offs at docks for big ships!

A mitten!

We had forgotten to get this shot on top of the mountain, but figured
this would work for the traditional 'see how close I got to the edge Mom?!'

This is the reservoir - a bit low and ugly, smelly water.

Notice the rock climber on the tip of the rock on the left.

This is going down to the caves.

Looking back where we had come from.

Entering the cavey part.

Some parts you almost have to crawl on your hands and knees.

After the caves, we walked back to the car, ate the remains of lunch (it was about 2:30) , and then drove around in the park a bit.  We headed home, going straight to In-n-Out and ordering hamburgers with double patties and fries for both of us!  This last picture is looking back at the park - look close and you can see some of the pinnacles right in the middle.
We definitely plan on going back!  And if you want to go to Pinnacles whenever you visit here, be able to walk 6 or 7 miles without difficulty!  
It is an amazing display of God's Creation!

1 comment:

  1. I want to go!
    I thought of a good plan to get in shape.....I'll hike in to the Spout this spring/summer and see how I do!
    Every place has its own beauty.
    Good captions, Margaret...very interesting about the birds.


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