Friday, October 8, 2021

The most PERFECT day!

"Balconies" on Balconies Trail.

At times we've each commented on what a great day it's been.  When we got home Thurs. afternoon Pat said, "This was a perfect day."  And he was right.  From weather, to congestion (or rather lack of it), to sites, to fun, it was perfect!

Pinnacles National Park is the 7th smallest of the 63 National Parks.  Pinnacles was established as a National  Monument in 1908. In the 1930's the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) did a lot to help develop the park.  In Jan. of 2013 it was redesignated a National Park.  It had around 230,000 visitors last year, compared to several million for the larger parks.  If you get a chance go here.  It is beautiful!

There is an east and west entrance.  It is unusual in that the east and west aren't connected by a road because of the landscape.  You can hike across the park on connecting trails in a day though (depending on your speed it could be a long day). The main feature of the park is the remnants of a 23 million-year-old volcano which today looks like a group of colorful spires or pinnacles. It also has 86 of the approximate 450 wild California Condors existing in the world. A bird once nearly extinct. 

The East entrance has a Visitor's Center. Arriving at the West entrance around 10 we headed to the newer Visitor Contact Station.  I was thinking bathrooms and brochures.  It had, however, souvenirs, a ranger, and a movie about the park.

The Ranger recommended The Balconies Trail as a 2.4 mile moderate hike that begins at the nearby Chaparral picnic area.  We hiked to a circular trail that went up towards the cliffs and then down towards the Balcony Talus Caves.  The colors gave a nice autumn look to the day.

Pinnacles offers lots of rock climbing adventures.

This fence seemed a little feeble!

Beautiful spot for a break.

Something caught the sun.

When we got home we blew it up.  What does it look like to you?

My favorite scene of the day.  Fall has arrived.

Anyone know what this is?  

California Fuschia

What if we enter the talus cave and...someone locks us in?

Looking up as we began.  It was a cool day and cooler in the cave, but the sweat was already running down my neck.

Several spots were pretty tight and required squeezing or crouching to get through.  2 caves, neither very long, unless you are claustrophobic!  Some spots were pretty dark.  Most of the time you could see at least a sliver of sunlight.  Pat had to work on convincing me that those little glimpses would get us out.  Near panic attack!

Climbed over a few Rocky spots.  Headed out here.  The wrist that had been broken got a good workout.

A view of the climb out.

I made it out of the caves alive and then I had to hold this up!

One last view of some Pinnacles.

I needed something after the caves!  Pat and I shared a flight of 2 white and 3 reds at Chalone Vineyards, Monterey's first winery.  At 1,800 feet the vineyards overlook the Salinas Valley, made famous by local author John Steinbeck.  The soil has a mineral composition similar to that of the  Champagne region of France. Stacey was a delightful host. She shared that Chalone Chardenay ranked 3rd out of 10 in a Paris competition in the 1970's, chronicled in the movie, "Bottle Shock."  We agreed all wines were very good, but with limited storage space, we selected the 2017 Syrah to take home.

A supplier of bulk wines and brandies.  This looked like a large operation compared to the smaller wineries we are use to.

There were at least 2 more buildings of this size.

Thank you CVS in Soledad for FREE flu shots.  

We know we are fortunate to be able to live our dream.  We hope you get to realize yours!

Where are the Piepers now?  Greenfield, CA

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