On this rather dreary and anxious day, we take a few minutes to remember a much happier day from this summer.
That day trip which included the drive down highway 25 also included a side trip to the eastern section of Pinnacles National Monument. Both the east and west sides are approached by highway 146, but they are not connected (unless you walk).
The main features of Pinnacles are the volcanic rock formations that appear out of the otherwise soft hills of central California. They seem transported from the southwest.
This was a great day to visit the park. It was completely empty, I did not encounter a single person on the trails. Surprising, considering it was just after July 4. But it was very hot, over 100F, and that probably discouraged most casual visitors. Really not so bad, though, if one carries plenty of water and sticks to the simple trails.
Actually, for the middle of summer, things were quite lush in spots, and there was plenty of shade.
Even a few small critters remained out and about:
Although the wildlife and vegetation was interesting and welcome, the focus of Pinnacles remains the rocks:
Large boulders like these form small caves and tunnels beneath which one can walk (or crawl). There are also real caves formed from lava tubes, but these were closed for the season to protect the bats.
There is something quite rewarding about solitude in a place like this (as opposed to just being alone at home or in a crowded place). There was more of that beyond the borders of the park as well. Those who have not yet read the original highway 25 article are encouraged to do so.