Forum Index > Trip Reports > Pinnacles National Park 7.28-29.2020
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
williswall
seeking tailwind



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 1723 | TRs
Location: Bellevue, WA
williswall
  Top

seeking tailwind
PostThu Jul 30, 2020 3:32 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
It’s been a while since I’ve posted…..sorting, packing up, finishing renovating our house to put up for sale, the usual “life gets in the way” stuff.” I even had to put my bike in storage, managing some neighborhood runs to keep in shape. But things are quickly changing; due to our inability to travel, I pushed up the timetable by a few years to purchase a Class B RV, a Winnebago Solis. I drove down to California over 3 days to do a 2 week trip with my daughter, hitting Sequoia, Yosemite, and Lassen in lieu of climbing Kilimanjaro. That trip will start tomorrow, so this report on Pinnacles was on my way down.

Like myself, I imagine many people have never heard of this national park. It’s small, in the middle of nowhere, and was only recently established in 2013. I secured a spot in the RV park (which even has 30 amp service) early enough to set up and go for an evening walk of about 5 miles. The road is closed into the park on this east side entrance so anyone contemplating a hike on the 30 miles of trails must be prepared to walk a couple of miles just to get to the trailheads. My evening walk up the road and on the trail paralleling the road was very pleasant, and I stopped to watch turkeys scratching in the grass and quail scurrying over the fence posts. Once back at my van, I turned off all the lights and opened the rear doors (screened), put my pillow against the shower wall and sat on my bed, listening to a riot of crickets as I sipped some wine. This was probably the first time I’ve had to relax in this way in months; the wind down to retirement has started.

I set my alarm for 6. Despite being quite warm in the evening I got up at 4:30 and turned on the furnace, as the temperature in the van had dropped below 60. 66 degrees was just right. After a quick breakfast, I set out with cool temperatures and foggy vistas. I arrived at the closed visitor center at Bear Gulch and set off on my planned route, climbing and traversing the Pinnacles High Peaks trail and descending via the Condor Gulch trail. Needless to say, my lonely hike on a national park trail with nary a soul to be seen was delightful. The vistas were grand, and as I climbed higher I espied Turkey Vultures riding the early morning thermals. They clrcled about with nary a flap of their wings. This part of the trail is specified “steep and narrow”….in a few places it reminded me of Angel’s Landing in Zion, with metal handrails and steps cut into the rock., Narrow it was, with me having to hold my camera occasionally in front of me as I scooched past rock outcroppings. To my utter delight the trail climbed right into the midst of the soaring turkey vultures. Sometimes they flew so close I could hear the air pass over their wings, with some below me or eye level, with a layering of birds up above. I spent some time here amongst the flyers, doing my best to snap some photos and video, but mostly just enjoying the aerial company. My timing was perfect in that the birds started to thin, with some settling on rocks as the morning thermals abated. Like the crickets the night before, this was a special event for me, and only for me as there were no others around. Perfect.

I had to beat feet back to get packed up before 11, the camp check out time, and I also had 5 hours of driving to get to my daughter, so I trotted down the Condor Gulch trail and finally met some people starting their hikes near the visitor center. All told I probably saw 12 people, so still a pretty sparse scene. Of course, it is off season for hiking in the desert.

This made for a wonderful break on my trip to California and I was pleased to be able to hike in this small but beautiful national park. I actually liked the fact that the roads and facilities were closed, which undoubtedly thinned the crowds significantly. Stats: 11 miles/2000’

Turkey Vultures on the morning thermals
Turkey Vultures on the morning thermals
Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture aero details
Turkey Vulture aero details
Trail6
Trail6
Trail5
Trail5
Trail4
Trail4
Trail3
Trail3
Trail2
Trail2
Trail1
Trail1
Solis at Pinnacles
Solis at Pinnacles
soaring
soaring
Overhead wonder
Overhead wonder
Leaving the High Peaks Trail
Leaving the High Peaks Trail
Launch
Launch
Golden hour in the Sycamore Trail
Golden hour in the Sycamore Trail
Golden hour 2
Golden hour 2
Bark!
Bark!
Ants at work
Ants at work

--------------
"You run with me, not the other way around.” (Cassie re races)

williswall.com
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6685 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
  Top

Mid Fork Rocks
PostThu Jul 30, 2020 9:33 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
williswall wrote:
I imagine many people have never heard of this national park

No no! Pinnacles was my wife and my go-to place when for the five years we lived in the Bay area.
1982 Pinnacles
1982 Pinnacles

Back then they were having a lot of problems with wild pigs digging up the ground. Any updates about that?

--------------
Mid Fork Rocksflickr
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
williswall
seeking tailwind



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 1723 | TRs
Location: Bellevue, WA
williswall
  Top

seeking tailwind
PostThu Jul 30, 2020 10:17 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
puzzlr wrote:
Back then they were having a lot of problems with wild pigs digging up the ground. Any updates about that?

Like many parks in central California, Pinnacles has had a small problem with wild pigs (a mix of feral domestic pigs and imported wild boars) disturbing the landscape on a regular basis. As of spring 2006, the core of the park was pig-free. The culmination of a twenty-year, $1.6 million effort had succeeded in eradicating pigs from the main area of the park. National Park Service personnel along with IWS worked to remove pigs from inside the park, and establish and monitor an exclusionary pig fence that runs for approximately 26 miles (42 km) around the center core of the park. Outside this fence, however, wild pigs still roam in regular abundance. Current monitoring for potential breaks and breaches in the fence is needed to ensure that the pigs do not return to devastate the park.

--------------
"You run with me, not the other way around.” (Cassie re races)

williswall.com
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Grannyhiker
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 3287 | TRs
Location: Gateway to the Columbia Gorge
Grannyhiker
  Top

Member
PostSat Aug 01, 2020 10:41 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
You didn't spot a California Condor?  I was there a couple of years ago and there was one soaring right over the parking lot!  Very impressive bird!

--------------
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Pinnacles National Park 7.28-29.2020
  Happy Birthday Hiker Boy, Robcat, lisaabraham!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy