Saturday, December 27, 2014

Pinnacles NP, Balconies Cave/Juniper Canyon/High Peaks Loop Hike

Saturday: (12/27) Enjoying Pinnacles National Park.  It was a cold morning with fogged up windows. We sleep without the heater on all night so it does get cold and takes a little while to warm in the mornings and wipe and get clear windows. When we could see out, we watched flocks of quail grazing around the campground. Lou made a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash browned potatoes, ham and avocados. Eventually we made our way over the to store and checked in to the campground and got our entry pass for the car. We came in after hours last night and our site was marked with our name. Then I decided to take a hike since I have tomorrow to recover. Lou dropped me off at the Old Pinnacles trailhead at 1230. I hiked through the Balconies Caves to Chapperal trailhead on the West side then up Juniper Canyon Trail to High Peaks Trail, through the fun part of High Peaks Trail and back down to the Bench Trail. The fun part on HighPeaks Trail is through slots along ledges and via carved steps. In the caves many hikers were unprepared and without lights. It is a cave. I had heard there was a new Visitor Center built on the West Side but it was nowhere to be seen near the trailhead and parking lot there. Must be further back the road? I was able to checkout the trail junctions for my Wednesday hike along the way. Lou didn't want me out after dark so I had arranged to have her pick me up at 1700 and I arrived at the pickup location at 1640, enough time to put on my jacket and gloves and pull out a snack before she arrived at 1650. No condor sightings today. Enchiladas for dinner. We watched some British comedies in the evening.

Pinnacles Balconies Trail 0360 Pinnacles Balconies Trail 0367
Nearin East end of the Balconies Cave. The shady ravine West of the caves.

West Pinnacles Chapporal 0370 Pinnacles Juniper Trail 0375
Chaparral picnic area. The view West from the top of Juniper Canyon Trail.

Pinnacles Juniper Trail 0378 Pinnacles High Peaks Trail 0386
A tall pinnacle. The High Peak Trail.

Pinnacles Bench Trail 0388
A view of the bench Trail near High Peaks Junction.

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