• J. F. Rowan

Pinnacles National Park


View from an outcrop on Condor Gulch Trail.

I can take the city atmosphere in small doses. Maybe a couple of weeks tops. After that, I’m ready to leave for greener pastures. The only exception to this is New York City and Boston which I suppose is because of some early childhood memories.. Yvette’s limit is probably around 5 days…maybe less. After living the quiet life for 25 plus years, its the overwhelming density of people that can sometime grate on our nerves. And, I think sometimes people's personalities turn into something different when they live or work in the city. They can be…well…obnoxious, egocentric and more often than not, throw common sense right out the window. You can see the proof in this when you drive to or from the city. Driving becomes less...well...combative the farther away you get. Leaving the city was somewhat of a relief, more so after the egress portion was complete. Watching Yvette out of the corner of my eye while we were working our way through heavy traffic was not a pretty sight. But we made it out alive.



Our next adventure lead us to Pinnacles National Park, somewhat east of the Salinas Valley in Central California. We set up camp and planned to stay for about 4 nights. A great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the last 7 days, it was the perfect spot to clear the cobwebs and get in a good stretch of the leg without running the risk of being hit by a "texter."

Slide Show

On the way, we stopped off in Gilmore, CA. Supposed garlic capital of the world!

We'll end up roasting about half of this and packing it in Olive Oil.

Valley Oak Acorns, Buckeyes, and the Bear Gulch Nature Center.




Stairways cut into stone by the infamous CCC.

An eyeful of incredible rock formations and views at every turn.

Several miles of trails gave us plenty of hiking opportunities daily. And though we rarely saw any wildlife on the trail, back in camp we were kept pretty busy as Black Tail Deer, Quail, Turkeys, and Coyotes traveled through from time to time. One of the star attractions in the park is the American Condor. Pinnacles is one of two official sites that were designated for the giant birds re-introduction; the success of the recovery program can be witnessed late in the day as several condors ride the thermals within easy viewing of the campground.


Black Tail Deer roamed freely. I tried to invite some of them over for dinner, but no such luck.

You really have to watch your step. One misstep, and it might be your last.

Weekends in any park are always busy and this park was no exception. By late Friday evening, the park was packed with campers including several groups occupying the group sites. But by 11 PM every night, all was usually quiet. By Monday, things were pretty much back to normal. On the weekends, we try and plan our hiking on some of the less popular trails thereby bypassing some of the crowds especially the “day-use” visitors.



While we were there, earlier than normal winter weather started to pop up in Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, forcing us to re-think our route at least temporarily. After much discussion, we decided to head back to the coast, if not a bit further south in search of warmer weather. Will we be successful?

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