Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pinnacles National Monument

One of my long time friends since junior high, Dan, came to the Bay area for a visit over Labor Day and William and I were able to spend a few days with him. We had planned to spend Labor Day up at Yosemite BUT our plans were thwarted by a small controlled burn that got out of control. The initial burn was only supposed to affect a few hundred acres but it instead turned into nearly 7,500. Since it was such a large area, it shut down the main road from SF into the park- to have rerouted around it would have added an extra hour each way and combined with bad traffic- it would have been miserable. So, we changed our plans and they ended up being a great substitute. Our first stop was the Pinnacles National Monument. It became a national monument by Pres. Teddy Roosevelt the same week as Muir Woods and the Grand Canyon so it obviously must be pretty amazing, but yet, none of us had really heard of it. The Pinnacles are made by eroded remains of a volcano so they made these really unique spires.

We decided to enter on the West entrance since it provided up close views and shorter hiking distances since we wanted to go to Monterey afterwards. The road on this side is very small- just over one lane- so we were happy that we did not have a huge car. The view just as we started our hike.

The trail was not very bad at all- more than just a walk but not too strenuous. Here's William on the flat part of the trail.

And the best part about it was that we were right up next to these amazing rock formations.

So many beautiful scenes, as you can see from many of the photos.

And some of the leaves were changing to give a fall feel to it.

One of the best things about the trail was that the park was not crowded at all- we pretty much had the trails all to ourselves with a few other hikers. Me contemplating the spectacular.

We took the Balconies Cave Trail loop which included the Balconies Caves. Here I am at the entrance to the caves.

I was glad that I read the website beforehand because it advised us to bring flashlights for the cave which as absolutely necessary as there is no natural light. It was so incredible- we had to duck under boulders and crawl through several tight spaces. They fortunately had some white paint marks to help show us the way.

We could not believe just how precariously this boulder was perched.

All in all, the three of us had a brilliant time at this monument and William and I will go back sometime to the East side of the park so that we can see the other half (bummer that the road does not run though the entire park) and the other caves- Bear Gulch- which have bats.

1 comment:

Dyan said...

Too bad you missed Yosemite, but that sounds miserable! Pinnacles is great too, we went down there right before I had Nora. We need to get together soon!