Hiking at Pinnacles with Charlotte
May 4, 2008
Ever since our last trip to Pinnacles National Monument, Charlotte and I have been looking forward to going back for a longer, tougher, faster hike all the way to the top. Today is that day. This time we arrive via the east entrance early in the morning. Unfortunately we weren't fast enough to get a photo of the road runner that sprinted across the road as we drive in.
The first part of the hike is easy along the Balconies Trail.
The Balconies Cave Trail leads us into a very tight, but short tunnel through the rocks. Not as spectacular as the Bear Gulch Cave Trail we did last time, but it was very nice nonetheless.
It's nice to get back into the sun.
The wildflowers are still looking awesome.
It's also a chance to play with my new telephoto. This western fence lizard (blue belly) makes a nice subject. A short while later we get a real treat when we spot a horny toad. I sure wish Gabe was here to see this!
Here's a bit of the Chalone Creek while walking along the Old Pinnacles Trail.
A few more spectacular wildflowers.
Now it's time to start heading up the High Peaks Trail.
The wildflowers up here are a bit different.
And some unique lizards as well.
Some great rock formations are visible further up the trail.
No condors, but plenty of vultures keep us company.
Time to start what they call the steep and narrow section. The steps in the rocks are very cool. It's a lot less of a sheer cliff than I thought it would be. The view from the previous hike made it look like a sheer cliff below this spot. I'm glad it's not nearly as scary as it looked then.
We stop for a quick lunch and soak up the great views. Then it's time to head back down via the Juniper Canyon Trail.
A few more colorful shots of the flora.
It's a long steep trail down, so I'm glad we're not coming up this in the afternoon when it's getting hot.
A pretty butterfly lets me intrude for a short while.
A truly great trip, that beckons us back for at least one more long loop trip to cover the rest of the park. This vineyard was a nice site on the drive out.