Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pinnacles National Monument

While staying in Watsonville, we day tripped to Pinnacles National Monument.  It was a solid one hour drive away, with the final five miles on a one lane road.  Notice I said "one lane," not one way.  Fortunately, we didn't meet anyone coming the other direction on the way in, or on the way out.  There was a sign warning that those with trailers of any sort were not advised; really, it should have said forbidden.  I cannot imagine bringing an RV on that road!

We hiked the Balconies Cliffs and Cave loop, 2.4 miles.  This was our only real option as there is no through road connecting the east and west entrances to the park.  The cave is known as a talus cave, formed by large chunks of rocks and boulders falling and wedging into the narrow cracks in the rock.  Our favorite part of the hike by far was going through the Balconies Cave.  Flashlights are required, and fortunately, Steve found a great little flashlight dropped along the trail that was much brighter than any of ours.  It is technical, for sure, and a bit challenging to do with Jake strapped to my front, a scared three year-old (it seems her memory of attempting to explore the very tight caves in Craters of the Moon were not helping), and Alyssa with a tender arm from her tree climbing adventure.  Nonetheless, it was so cool, and very do-able.  We saw quite a few little bats along the cave walls, as well.

Anyone catch the typo here?? 

The cave was formed by rocks that fell into a canyon
Close up of the mouse-sized bats

It was a little tricky with the little ones.
Out into the light
Looking out over the valley
Pinnacles is a place I would love to return to and hike the many trails available.

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