Friday, April 24, 2009

Pinnacles National Monument - Nine Mile Hike

We spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Pinnacles National Monument near Hollister, California. This is one of our favorite places to hike and camp. We always try to go in the spring and/or fall because in the summer it is just wayyyy too hot, and in the winter it can be unbearably cold, especially at night.

Well, this visit turned out to be unseasonably warm, or should I say, HOT! It was like July or August instead of April. On the other hand, because of the recent rains the wildflowers were out in full force, and looked absolutely incredible. We saw flowers we'd never seen before, and in such quantities that they blanketed the ground in many places. And the green grass and leaves! It was really beautiful. I just wish I were a better photographer so that I could do proper justice to the gorgeous scenery.

Mike's photos are much better than mine but since he hasn't given me copies yet, and he's gone to bed, you'll have to make do with my poorer efforts!

Usually it's the Pinnacles themselves (caused by a long-ago volcanic eruption) that are the attraction . . .

. . . but this time the flora stole the show. Here are just a few of the photos I took of the wildflowers, grass, and trees:

...the easy part of our hike....LOL!

. . . hummingbirds love these. . .they are Common Monkeyflower . . .

. . . we'd never seen these before, they are called Virgin's Bower. . .

. . . not sure which member of the Pea family these purples beauties are . . .

. . . of course, California poppies were everywhere . . .
. . . amazing, even growing out of cracks in the rocks. . .

. . .switchbacks took us ever higher . . . just look at all that green. . .

. . . and what a view from up there . . .

. . . oh, and we can't forget the young, healthy poison oak EVERYWHERE. . .
my favorite plant . . . NOT!

. . we also saw this cool dude sunning himself on a rock . . .

. . . and explored Balconies Caves with teensy flashlights.

Must admit, though, that this next photo was my absolute fave of the day:

Mike, who looks so cute, and my CAR waiting patiently for us at the end of a long, hot & dry, nine-mile hike. Ahh, the pleasure of moving from one place to another while sitting still!

Amazingly, we neither of us had blisters, but I had aching hips and knees, and my feet were so tired they burned. We didn't take quite enough water but at least I did have sunblock for skin AND lips, and we wore good hats.

And you can bet the pool at the campground felt AWESOME.

2 comments:

Mary Bradley Black said...

A woman after my own heart! Love those wildflowers. Great pics and thanks for sharing.

Latte' Dah said...

What an exciting trip. You and hubby look so happy. Your photos have to be the most beautiful photos I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing them. :)