Pinnacles National Monument

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Rex Motel

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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Today I went to Pinnacles National Monument.  The pinnacles in the park are half of an ancient volcano.  The San Andreas Fault runs through the volcano and the two halves of the volcano have slowly crept away from each other and are now a couple hundred miles apart.  The pinnacles are popular with climbers and hikers.

The park is also known for it's talus caves.  A talus cave is an underground passage through a pile of large boulders.  There are two large talus caves in the park.  Unfortunately, the most accessible one is closed today since it's breeding season for the endangered bats that live there.  The other one is open but it's a much longer hike and I was tired after my walk yesterday.

I decided to start with the loop hike to the Bear Gulch Reservoir, which is a 2.5 mile hike. The park was made a National Monument in 1908 but, in spite of the protection that gives the park, the Civilian Conservation Corps built a dam to create a reservoir in the 1930s.  I was told the loop hike has 800 feet of change but I think it was actually much less.  The walk to the reservoir goes through some short portions of talus caves.  The larger caves nearby are the ones that are currently closed for the bats.

Next I took the Condor Gulch Overlook trail.  It's a 2 mile hike.  I was told that it has 700 feet of elevation change but I think it was a little less.  The hike goes up into a gulch to an overlook that gives a nice view looking back down the gulch.

After my hikes I headed for Salinas for the night.

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