Pinnacles

Pinnacles National park

Pinnacles National park

Pinnacles National park

After departing Sacramento, I headed to Santa Cruz where Dan and Martin had kindly agreed to put me up for the weekend. We considered going Kayaking but the weather didn’t look favorable so we opted to do a little hiking at Pinnacles instead.

It was a perfect day for hiking sunny and warm but not too hot.  As we walked we counted the numerous types of different wild flowers that were in bloom. I think we counted around 16 different ones.

wildflowers

wildflowers

wild flower

wild flower

wildflowers wild flowers

We continued up to the peaks hoping to spot the California Condors. When we stopped to eat lunch I was observing a patch of lupine when it began to move! I observed the plant move a couple more times before I saw the culprit. A ground squirrel was busy eating the lupines.

Ground Squirrel

Ground Squirrel

ground squirrel

Near the top we spotted two men who were tracking condors using a radio receiver. They assured us there were several in the area but we only managed to spot one out in the distance. We did see a lot of turkey vultures soaring in the thermo-clines though.

Soaring Vulture

Soaring Vulture

soaring vulture

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

turkey vulture
We continued on to explore the balconies cave and admired the gate system that we speculated allowed debris to exit the cave when it was flooded with water in the winter. after going down through the cave we returned by taking the cliff overview trail that went back over the cave.

In the cave

In the cave

in the cave

waterfall in the cave

waterfall in the cave

waterfall in the cave
Along the way we observed several climbers still climbing the rocks as twilight settled in.

climber

climber

We made it to the parking lot as it got dark and it was time to head out in search of an excellent dinner at a Mexican restaurant on the way back to Santa Cruz. It was a really great ending to a wonderful day.

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