We woke up to fog this am again. But it burnt off pretty early revealing lovely colors. The official sign for Pinnacles National Park, and twisty trees. The CCC built the park in the 1930's so the trails are bulletproof. Lots of nice stonework.
We hiked the High Peaks-Bear Gulch loop today.6.7 miles and 1,425 of vertical. John is in Bear Gulch. John entering Bear Gulch Cave which was created when huge boulders formed a roof over the narrow canyon. The park brochure says: The cave areas are narrow and twisting with low ceilings and uneven footing. Passing through may require scrambling over rocks and wading through water. The cave is dark, use a flashlight.
A few views in the cave of the narrow passages, reflection of sunlight onto the water and John took this one of me going out into the sunlight at the end. There is a spring/waterfall in the cave here by the 5 foot high ferns
The brochure says portions of the High Peaks trail are narrow and steep. Very narrow and steep, many spots have tight steep stairs chopped into the rock and handrails. John and I on some of the stairs. The sign going into the cave-flashlight required, low ceilings and slippery when wet. Tourist trap climbers access 12 people total. The park is a popular rock climbing area. The rock ismostly volcanic breccia and tuff is weak compared to granite or basalt. Technical climbing only. Pinnacles rock can be so unstable that even new bolts may fall. Keep the condors wild and free. Please do not approach or feed the condors. Carabiner sign pointing to climbing access.
Part of the trail is shaded by big trees. Fall leaves still on the trees.
The first glimpse of the actual Pinnacles here. These are part of an ancient volcano caldera. It sits on the San Andreas fault- one side is going north and the otherside south, so half of the caldera is 195
The pinnacles are breathtaking. You don't expect to see something like this towering over rolling hills. A multi colored rock wall. Lots of steep ridges and deep canyons. The gray pines which the indians called Ghost trees, are lit up by the sunlight. Back lit ridges.
Design on the rock wall that looks like Mickey Mouse. We saw a couple dozen condors soaring around in the peaks. Very majestic bird with a 9 1/2 foot wingspan. I watched two on a rock across the canyon, first two of them spread their wings wide, faced each other and rotated around a couple times, then both raised their wings and jumped in unison. A vulture flying over head. They are pretty big too, 6 foot wingspans. A crooked tree in front of more pinnacles.
I think these mittenlike pinnacles are Hawkins Peak, at 2720 feet high, the highest point in the park. John is in the lower left hand corner in the shadows on one of the narrow steep stairways.
Looking down to the west side of the park. There is not a road that goes all the way through the park, so you have drive a really long way to visit both sides.
The Balconies cliff across the valley. The Balconies cliff and a row of pinnacles in the afternoon light.
There are a couple tunnels cut through the rock on the trail. I am coming out of one here. These pinnacles are huge, can't tell in the photo.
Red madrone trunks. Last light on the pines and peaks here.
Last light on the way back. Rock colors and shapes. A gray pine cone. It is about 8 inches long, really heavy and prickly. You don't want one landing on your head, or your car.
The gray pine needles are very shiny in the sunlight, colored rock wall and last light on this row of pines at the head of this canyon.