Monday, March 5, 2012

A Weekend at Pinnacles National Monument

This weekend was our third time hiking at Pinnacles National Monument, and we finally made it to the top!

Last fall we started our hike at the RV camping area which is a good three miles from the trails that link with the High Peak Trail.  Knowing we would have to walk back three miles, I was not enthusiastic about trying for the peak.

This time we were able to take a shuttle bus from the campground to the Condor Gulch trailhead.  (See I'm still smiling!)

1.7 miles doesn't seem like far, but miles seem longer when they are rocky and are about 6 to 10 percent grade.

As I looked thru the pictures Craig took, I don't seem to see any that show how steep the trail was!

This was taken part way up the first leg of the climb.

I'm in better shape now than I was last fall. And I have lost ten pounds since January. It really made a difference. 

But I still had to rest frequently.

Every seat size rock or 
patch of shade was appreciated.

And then it was time to push on.

I carried the water and snacks, Craig carried his big camera!

What can I say,
the views were breathtaking.

These pictures can only hint at what we saw. If you ever get to this area, there is more than beautiful coast and San Francisco to explore. 

Pinnacles feels like another planet.

A pile of old rocks, is a pile of old rocks, until you start to see them as something else.  We may have been getting punchy, but we were both sure we saw a large lion.

We did make it to the top, and hiked about three or so miles along the High Peaks Trail before working our way back down.

Most of the trail surface was very uneven and covered with rocks of many sizes.  We had to be very careful   to keep from turning an ankle. A walking stick and high top shoes are on my shopping list for the future.

Going downhill was almost harder than going uphill.  It seemed to put a lot of stress on already tired legs and knees!

But we did it.  Craig says that if I lose another ten pounds hiking will be even easier!  He's right and it is something to aim for. 

When we got to the bottom of the High Peaks Trail, we still had another half mile or so to the nearest shuttle stop, but it was a soft sandy trail along a creek bed.   So nice.  So level!

We were very happy to get onto the shuttle. 

Ah to be so young!

We had hiked less than five miles, but  it seemed much farther.

It was so nice to get back to the Alfa and take showers. We sat outside and had cheese, salami and crackers.

I had a pot of Cuban Black Bean soup simmering in the slow cooker and I baked cornbread muffins to go with.   This was the first time I used the convection feature, it worked fine.

We were in bed by eight, and watched the movie "Hugo" on the new TV in the bedroom.  Blue Ray sure is sharp! 

My legs hurt, but it was a good hurt.  Much like after the first day of the ski season.   I knew I had used them! A couple of Alieve were quite helpful.

To be continued ...


  1. Looks like an awesome day and hike to me! :) The scenery in your pics is beautiful!!

    We are two months away from our first trip of the season, and I can't wait!! :)

  2. Looks like you had good weather as well. I never have been to the'd think I had, being so close to them!

  3. Good for you guys! It's always hard to start the hike and not feel too enthusiastic about it, especially if you are not used to it or your body isn't in the best shape but boy, are the sights usually worth it! Eldy says he has to have a "reward" like a great promising view during the hike in order to get going on one. Great photos and keep it up!

  4. Good going! You made it and got to enjoy that beautiful scenery. Sometimes it is hard to just get started but once on a trail, I don't want to stop because I wonder what is up ahead.

    Congrats on the weight loss.

  5. Merikay, Suzy and I would love to take that hike, but even when we are at our peak, we'll not reach that peak! Suzy would very definitely like to have that Cuban Black Bean Soup recipe, as black bean soup is part of what she can eat now. By the way, she has now lost 50 pounds since shortly before her surgery, so the future is getting closer for us!

  6. Good for you! I'm not sure I could walk that far anymore. The ankles just can't take it.

  7. that is great seeing Pinnacles, Merikay. I think we are going to try to get there when we go south in late April. What a great hike and the photos are wonderful.

  8. Good for you guys, taking on that hike! I agree that it does feel good to get that kind of exercise. I love my Merrel hiking shoes. I find my walking stick actually helps more going downhill because it helps brace my knees.

  9. WOW, I'm impressed -- I don't see me ever climbing over rocks to reach a peak of something. I'm just too clumsy and would prob break my neck:( Congrats on the weight loss -- how did you do it?

  10. What a fantastic hike! I'd be dragging my butt back that's for sure. Good for you on the 10lbs - you look great in the photos.

    And yes - please share the soup recipe :-)

  11. I'm also slowly losing weight to make it easier to hike. The views are amazing and help to keep us on track with more weight loss.

  12. My legs hurt reading about your hike. But beautiful pictures.

  13. Congratulations on a great hike! Sound like your trip was lots of fun. We just saw that movie the other night, here at home. It was fun.

  14. What an awesome day. I remember you blogging about walking and getting ready to hike all the great places in this country and now look you are out doing it! That hike looks like a challenging one. Its not just the distance but the altitude changes that add to it, no shame in stopping to rest, it gives you a chance to enjoy the beautiful views. You are right about the down hill, it actually is more stressful on the legs, uphill is more stressful on the lungs. Glad you had such a great weekend and congratulations on loosing 10 lbs.!

  15. good job on the hike!!..the little girl on the shuttle is a cutie!!

  16. Wow! what a beautiful area, enjoyed the pictures and info. Glad you both had a good time and are enjoying the new TV and Blue Ray.

  17. Craig says that if I loose another ten pounds hiking will be even easier!

    You might mention to him that if you lost 190 pounds, lots of things would be easier.

    Your hike looks spectacular! Good going!

    The Good Luck Duck

  18. Wow!! Someone sure has been having some fun lately! If only I could lose 10 (or more) pounds, I could enjoy hikes more.

  19. I don't think that I can walk that far yet, something that I have to work on. Great hike!


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