Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Camping at Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park

We spotted this condor near the camp ground.

We took our time on our way down from San Francisco Int'l airport to get to the Pinnacles because the weather was going to be hot-hot-hot. Weather reports were calling for 103 degrees. In fact, the weather reports had dissuaded our friends Marty/Sandra and Mike/Venessa to go camping.

But we figured that since we were practically driving past it on our way to Shell Beach, we'd at least try it out for a night. Also, we had driven by the park so many times, each time commenting that we should go check it out, that we now felt obliged to stop. After all, it was dry heat, right?

As we got closer to the park, we held out hope that the park wasn't going to be an oven - we'd experienced temperatures from 106 back down to 83 degrees. But as we started to approach Hollister, the temperatures went back up. By the time we entered the Pinnacles, the weather predictions turned out to be wrong - it was only 102 degrees!

Our secluded camp ground

We originally had been set to camp in the RV area, since both Marty and Mike have trailers. It was a very barren area, not suitable for tents. But without them here, we decided to move to the tent area, a far more attractive environment next to a creek, with lots of trees and privacy.

Although the heat kept us lying low on the first day, the following day it cooled off to the high-70's. Very comfortable. We took hikes, read and went to the camp's pool.

Diane poses under one of the many huge rock formation.

Bear Gulch Reservoir

Although some caves are closed, this was actually a tunnel.

Taking a break at Bear Gulch Reservoir.

The park has exceptionally elegant rock formations.

The are various trail areas where huge rocks have fallen on/near the trail, sometimes closing them.

Along the Bear Gulch trail, we spotted caves, beautiful rock formations, some wild life and evidence of ancient volcanic activity. The many sheer cliffs offered by the park's environment, tempted a number of rock climbers to test their climbing skills.

On our third day, I took the Old Pinnacles trail and tried to reach the Balcony rock formation. But I found out too late that it pays to read the fine print - bring a flashlight! After walking 2.5 miles, I was blocked from proceeding because of a very long and dark cave that I would have had to go through.

Well, it's always nice to leave something for the next time.....

Milk chocolate melting on a Manzanita (not really - but it sure looks tasty).

Wild turkeys on the run.

The Old Pinnacles trail has lots of lush and verdant areas. 

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