Pinnacles National Park

First I’m going to make a map. I ‘think’ I’ll have time for that before it’s time to EAT AGAIN. omg The Food here at The Ranch.

An overview of where Pinnacles is:

And a closer view to appreciate the long and winding roads.

Notice how the two sides of the park, the East and the West Entrances do not join. Just one of the reasons I’ve never been to the West Entrance, the whole point of this little sojourn. Google offered me a nice short alternate route to get from the West side to the East. What Was Google Thinking?!

I traveled 14 miles on a rutted dirt road with crazy-sharp switchbacks up and down through the mountain. What?! YES! I wanted to drive on roads unknown to me but maybe not quite that unknown.

Leaving King City at 6:30am heading into the West Entrance where I have never been. I filled the tank with gas in King City so as to be sure not to repeat a previous episode when I got lost going to the ranch and arrived on fumes. Fortunately Jerry keeps a gas station on the property but I hope, if at all possible, to never repeat that embarrassment. Here I am turning onto Highway 126 from the 101.
Along the way I passed many fields…
And vineyards. It was a lovely ride.
The main activity at Pinnacles National Park, from both sides, is hiking which usually involves some scrambling and climbing, and also repelling is popular. I asked a couple of guys at the parking lot who were loading up their gear, how long would it take to get to where they were going. Oh about 45 minutes of hard slog. Not surprisingly, not for me!
I did stroll along a little for this view, just my speed. I was concerned by the huge blinking sign at the entrance declaring one might expect a 1-2 hour delay due to the one-lane road ahead. I was there so early I had no problem but people kept arriving and I thought I might as well head out.
Check this, a cloud lake! I am about to hit the dirt road. I’ve asked google a hundred ways and I can’t find anything to tell about that dirt road and I was too absorbed in No Falling that I didn’t take any pictures. Oh well, I’ll not be on that road ever again anyway.
Into the more developed East Entrance I chose this place to consider a stroll. The mileage markers are the distance to the trail head. Not one of the hikes was ‘easy’, ‘moderate’ was the least challenging and knowing what the Park Service considers moderate “appropriate for children” I just went a short way in and turned around when a family with three wailing children passed me on their way down.
The distance I did travel was lovely. I had been on one of these trails before, leading to the dam and a cave. I remember, it was beautiful.
One of my goals was to find a quiet comfortable shaded spot to settle down and listen to the surrounding landscape, but it was not to be. There were people, and rocks really are not that comfortable.
Views aplenty though.

Here’s a little wikipedia about the Park and why you might not have heard of it:

The national park is divided by the rock formations into East and West Divisions, connected only by foot trails. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls. The rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. The park features unusual talus caves that house at least 13 species of bats. Pinnacles is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer. Park lands are prime habitat for prairie falcons, and are a release site for California Condors that have been hatched in captivity.

Pinnacles was originally established as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and was re-designated as a national park by Congressional legislation in 2012 that was then signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 10, 2013.

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