Wild Places We Go

Return to Pinnacles National Monument

This trip in March and our previous trip in October are probably some of the best times of year to visit Pinnacles National Monument. You’re pretty much assured of good weather and it isn’t too hot. Also, the ecological cycle is in a much different phase in October than it is in March. So, even if you visit the same places, they will appear much different.

We entered the park from the west side this time (best reached by going down Highway 101) as opposed to the east side from which we entered last time. There is no road connecting the two sides of the park. You have to hike it.

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Driving into the park in Amanda’s Lamborghini – you’ve got to love sunroofs…

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Condor Crags in the distance. Trust me, they’re a lot bigger than they look…

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Welcome back to Pinnacles… I decided this trip would be best served by my wearing an over-the-top, vintage smoking jacket found in a thrift store…

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Girls can’t get enough of it (and I don’t blame them)…

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The crew heads out…

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There’s a lot more water during this visit than our last…

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And fauna…

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And flora…

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Our destination…

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Entering the Balconies Caves…

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I thought this rock near the entrance looked pretty awesome…

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And naturally, empowered by the smoking jacket, I couldn’t resist doing a little bouldering before plunging into the canyon of caves…

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Heading down the canyon corridor to the interior of the caves…

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These bad boys come tumbling down with some regularity…

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Amanda descends into the darkness…

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A subterranean waterfall (this definitely was not here on our last visit)…

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Dancing water in the cave…

Emerging into the light again…

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This water leaving the cave is probably about as pure as you can get having been filtered down over time through the immense layers of rock in Pinnacles…

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Brandon and I climbed to the top of this chimney to get some good views of the valley below…

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Molly decided the boys couldn’t have all of the fun…

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The views that made the scramble well worth it…

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The family that spelunks together, stays together… And, yes, I believe that word sounds as if it is describing a filthy sexual act. However, people in the caving community stick by it and so what can we do but make fun of it every time we go near a cave?

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A full day of adventure to be sure, but unfortunately for those prone to awesomeness envy, we were just getting the day started…

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