December 18 – Pinnacles National Park

I have been amazed by the amount of farm land that is under cultivation in California – crops, trees, rice paddies, vineyards etc. – I’ve heard that California was the big producer of food but it was amazing seeing it in action.

Most of the drive was interstate but the final 30 miles was thru the mountains – maybe hills – that was winding and up and down – had to slow up and take our time.

Arrived at Pinnacles National Park campground and found a spot. Small campground with paved roads and gravel sites with electric only hookup – okay for 2 days. At an elevation of about 1000 feet so it’s a little cooler. With Senior Pass only $18 per night.

Pinnacles NP was proclaimed a National Monument in 1908 by President Roosevelt and became a NP in 2013 by President Obama.

The highlights of the park are the pinnacles that dominate the landscape including massive monoliths, sheer-walled canyons and boulder covered caves (Talus).

Pinnacles is a nesting area for the California condor. The condor is the largest bird in North America with a wingspan of 9.5 feet.

Did see a Condor on the ridge adjacent to the campground.

Tuesday woke up to 28 degrees – our coldest day this journey.

Brenda isn’t feeling well – cold in the head from her grandsons.

We did take off to visit the park – first stop was the Peaks View, got some pics of the pinnacles.

Then to the Bear Gulch Nature Center – saw the movie about the park and decided to hike the trail to the toppin (5) – we didn’t make it too far – Brenda is weak at the moment – but got good pics of pinnacles.

Then to the end of the road but couldn’t find a parking space so we continued on.

Then over to the Old Pinnacle Trailhead and looked around. Brenda was ready to go back and rest.

A woodpecker busy at (21)

Did stop at VC and got my stamp and magnet.

I took off back to Bear Gulch Cave Trail to hike up to the cave.

Made it to the cave (forgot my flashlight) so I didn’t go too far in.

Bear Gulch Cave is interesting, formation from boulders falling on a narrow canyon and bridging the area (called Talus).pin (7)

Came back to camp and pulled out the binoculars and spotted Condors on the ridge – took some pics with the zoom lens. Not a lot of detail. Sure is an ugly bird.

Picture above is taken from the movie I watched – did not catch a condor in flight.

Gretel sure is determined to catch whatever created the hole-in-the-ground.

There are lots of trails that would test the skilled hiker but we didn’t make them this time.

Too bad it wasn’t Thanksgiving – those turkeys would have been good to smoke.

Interesting two days without telephone or internet service – we survived and enjoyed it.

Wednesday is off to Bakersfield, California.

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