After weeks of feeling drained, physically and mentally exhausted to my limit from finishing parent-teacher conferences (with 26 students, that’s more than 13 hours of talking on top of teaching!) and being on the go with my busy life outside of work, yesterday was rejuvenating! Opting outside, being active, having fun and good conversations with some of my closest friends on a day trip to Pinnacles National Park! We were on perfect timing all day, and everything went according to plan. We made it back in time for me to make Women’s Group last night. As we closed the discussion on our book this year, my soul was encouraged and perspective was refocused. It was such a great, productive day off from work for Veteran’s Day! Praise God, and thanks to my friends for sticking with the original plan even though we almost canceled our hike. After we purchased the national park annual pass on our Utah and Arizona hiking trip over Fall Break, which was so worth $80, we are trying to hit up more national parks this year!
So about Pinnacles National Park! It’s the closest/most local national park to my house, 80 miles southeast of San Jose. It’s one of the newest national parks that Obama established in 2013. It’s known for the eroded leftovers of an extinct volcano as well as talus caves. Pinnacles has a bit of everything – cool rock formations, a serene reservoir, pretty green landscapes, awesome CAVES where flashlights are required to adventurously explore in the dark and see bat roosts… and the largest spiders/tarantulas I have ever seen in my life. Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, we hiked 9.5 miles round trip around the perimeter trails in a clockwise fashion starting and ending from Old Pinnacles Trailhead. We saw the whole park and both the lower Bear Gulch cave and Balconies cave that were open, and we didn’t have to go back on the same route at any point. I’d say Pinnacles National Park tops my list for most fun hike in California so far!
8:30 AM – Left my house for 1.5 hours drive from San Jose
10:00 AM – Arrived at the Visitor Center to get a bathroom break, pick up my souvenir postcard, and show my annual pass for a free parking permit
10:45 AM – Parked at Old Pinnacles Trailhead and started the hike
5 minutes into the hike, tarantula #1 (see the gum that was spit out when someone with real arachnophobia screamed HAHA for scale)
Bear Gulch Trail
Moses Spring Trail
Bear Gulch Cave Trail
12:30 PM – Ate our pb&j sandwiches for lunch at Bear Gulch Reservoir
High Peaks Trail / Juniper Canyon Trail
Tarantula #2 (see shoes for scale)
Balconies Cave Trail
4:00 PM – Left the park sore and tired, but we survived 9.5 miles and it was so fun!
Up next, Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon!?