I am embarrassed to admit that Pinnacles National Park was in my backyard as a youngster and I never visited or hiked it until last week.
It was first established as a National Monument in 1908 and five years ago President Obama signed legislation declaring it a National Park. This park is of special interest to us because there is also a Pinnacles NP in Western Australia that we plan to visit in February. We look forward to comparing the two parks.
There are two entrances at Pinnacles with a mountain range between. It is important to note that it’s not possible to navigate from one entrance to the other. The campground is located at the east entrance so plan ahead if you choose to camp at this park. Our Vistabule is in storage until mid March so camping was not an option for this visit. The park is situated near Soledad, California and is named for the eroded leftovers of an extinct volcano. As you approach the park, beautiful vineyards and gently rolling hills are in the distance and then abruptly the landscape changes to jutting rounded spires and rocky cliffs.
It is a stunning landscape with the spires glowing against the blue sky. We hiked up the mountain, passed through tunnels, held fast onto guide rails and marveled at the beauty. Our visit was short and only whet our appetite. We’d like to return with the Vistabule as I’m certain that hiking and cave exploring would entertain us for several days.
We spent another day in early January walking around the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco. Our weather app predicted a sunny day so we left our rain coats at home. This was a big mistake! The fog was so heavy we were dripping wet and could hardly see through our glasses. The Golden Gate Bridge was hidden but I was able to photograph Stephen at the famous labyrinth in an area known as Lands End.
After two hours of soggy hiking we finally gave up and found a warm and inviting french pasty shop where we gobbled up freshly baked chocolate croissants.
We’ve enjoyed a month of warm weather and time spent with our families. I still marvel at daffodils blooming in January and lemon trees laden with fruit. We depart for Perth this week and look forward to, among other things, a visit to Pinnacles National Park down under. We’ve got 40+ hours of travel ahead of us navigating airports and airplanes but I’m focusing on the adventure ahead.