Pinnacles National Park ~ West Entrance

April 13, 2016
Soledad, Ca
Hikers: Cathy, Laura, Noreen
Distance: 9.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,997 ft.

Two days in paradise!

Day 1: Getting settled and checking things out.

The drive to the park to get our pass a day early and have a look around.

Of course we had to stop...

Ha! This is the "well". Someone is making easy money. ;)

View from the visitors center.

We thought we would check out the trail behind the visitors center (guesstimating under half mile round trip).

Beautiful view of the Pinnacles.

High Peaks.

Just. Amazing. Comfortable rooms, stunning scenery, and the most wonderful and kind hosts - Jon and Jan Brosseau. Jan makes the most delicious breakfast to get you started for a day of hiking. We had coffee, orange juice, croissant French toast, fruit, and sausage patties. It kept us going for half of our hike. The next morning was scrambled eggs, vegetable frittata, (Aidells?) sausages, fruit, toast, and cereal was also available.

Our room.

View from our deck.

Complete with gas barbecue ~ town is a few miles away with very limited selection (mostly taquerias), so we cooked our own meals (except breakfast). Wouldn't want to go anywhere else really, not with these views and solitude. The room next to ours wasn't occupied, so we had use of that deck as well; which had the most beautiful sunset.

Checking out the grounds. 

Taking a walk around the property.

We grilled up some delicious portobello burgers for our first night. The inn supplies the housewares.

The lavender plants were amazing!

Absolutely stunning, despite the rather chilly evening.

Lots of bunnies on the property.

Day 2: A most majestic hike...

From far above, it is hard to tell the difference between condors and turkey vultures. Condors have white patches under their wings toward the top, whereas turkey vultures have white/grey coloring at the bottom of their wings. Also, condors can have a distinct mustache shape when the fly.

This plant was growing right out of the middle of this rock.

The orange tendrils are a parasitic plant called Dodder.

A bathroom at High Peaks Trail & Juniper Canyon Trail.

This is the only condor we saw - being chased by a crow. We heard there were several condors on the High Peaks Trail - up close and personal (of course that portion of the trail was not in our plan). Next time! And there will be a next time. Thinking of making this trip a yearly event.

Anvil Rock

Looking back at the stairs we descended.

Upper Bear Gulch Cave.

Headlamps or flashlights are required for the caves. I highly recommend a headlamp, for some areas you need your hands free for scrambling over rocks.

Lower Bear Gulch Cave.

It's hard to see, but there is a waterfall down there.

Whoa! This guy took up three-quarters-width of the trail. We patiently waited for him to go on his way, however he was enjoying the sun too much. We had to  v e r y  carefully pass behind him. Thank goodness he wasn't paying us no mind - for we had little room to maneuver.  As I said, he took up a good portion of the trail, and there was a drop, down to the creek on our side.

Did a little decorating while we were here. ;)

Mr. Lizard.

Thank goodness another hiker had done this route before; for we may have just turned around in confusion. We were told scrambling over the rocks was the way to go to reach the balconies cave (a sign would have been nice).

Balconies Cave.

Made it to the other side. :)

Elephant Rock and the Citadel.

Machete Ridge

Back to the inn.

Lovely way to end the evening.

Juniper Canyon Trail, High Peaks Trail, Rim Trail, Bear Gulch Cave Trail, Moses Spring Trail, Bear Gulch Trail, Bench Trail, Old Pinnacles Trail, Balconies Cave Trail, Balconies Trail.

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