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The Pinnacles

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The Pinnacles

Postby balzaccom » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:22 pm

Great hiking this weekend outside of King City.

I had visited the Pinnacles National Monument numerous times as a child, and looked forward to going back and visiting some of my old haunts. What I found was that things had changed, but the Pinnacles are still a great hiking destination, and this is absolutely the best time to visit!

Friday focused on the East Side, with a hike up through Condor Canyon and onto the Peaks trail. This is a steep climb, about 1500 feet in two miles, but the views are certainly worth it. And it did feel good to get out and HIKE! The trail joins the Peaks Trail and then wraps around, up over and through the rocky volcanic pinnacles that gave the park its name.The weather was cloudy without rain, and that made for a perfect temperature for the hiking, even if the colors were more washed out than they would have been in bright sunlight. The advantage was that the heat was nothing like this park in summer--it can be an oven! This hike was lovely, and I was completely unprepared for the green mosses and lush plant growth in the canyons, particularly on the north slopes.

I didn't have a flashlight (although the ranger actually offered to loan me one if I could get back by 5 p.m.!) so I didn't go through the caves this time. It wasn't that I didn't like that trail--just that I didn't want to get wet!

The next day I returned with a friend to the West Side, which I don't remember having visited before. Rather than climbing back up to the Peaks Trail, we wandered down towards the Balconies, which I had seen from the Peaks the day before. Another lovely hike with some great water features (try to find THOSE in the summer!) and another set of caves--this one with water up to your knees. We passed on that, but had a great hike, eventually taking one of the rock climber use trails up out of the canyon onto the top of the ridge.

They have changed this park a bit since I was young--the campground is now in a very different and less attractive area--but they have also added in about a dozen California Condors. They were not visible during the hike, but that didn't stop me from stopping and staring at the peaks hopefully.

Photos are here: http://picasaweb.google.com/balzaccom/T ... 0817388738
Balzaccom

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Re: The Pinnacles

Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:13 pm

I like the warriors, xrated pinnacle, path to the ridge and balconies. Beautiful area! :nod:
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Re: The Pinnacles

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:46 pm

Thanks for the TR, I have not been there for over 10 years.
I always enjoyed hiking the High Trail, and especially the caves, and a nice place for
flowers during the spring.
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Re: The Pinnacles

Postby tim » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:16 am

We were there last weekend (Mar 13-14) and had beautiful sunshine and cool temps (low 60s on Saturday after Friday's storm, and mid 40s when we arrived at 10am). The Bear Gulch cave is open from now to the end of March, so its a good time to visit. However, it was a bit wetter than last year (hard to avoid ankle-knee deep pools in the top half of the cave), and most people were exiting half way up.

The highlight was heading up to the High Peaks trail afterwards - there were half a dozen condors swooping all around us - one memorably cruising at eye level about 50 feet away as we went along the ledges. There was a ranger at the top with a telescope showing people where the nest is, which the kids really enjoyed. Then at dusk even more condors (we counted 14) were circling the campsite. The camping was really cold Saturday night - it must have been about 28-30 degrees and there was ice everywhere when we woke up Sunday morning.
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Re: The Pinnacles

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:01 pm

Hi Tim

How were the flowers?
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Re: The Pinnacles

Postby tim » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:05 pm

Nothing to write home about. I was surprised how few there were except in some damp/shady areas near the caves. Hard to tell if I was too late or too early...
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Re: The Pinnacles

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:51 pm

Thanks Tim, maybe the first or second week of April.
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