|Approaching Balconies Cave|
DISTANCE: 3.8 MILES
ELEVATION GAIN: 495 FEET
TIME TAKEN: 2 HOURS
DISTANCE: 6.6 MILES
ELEVATION GAIN: 1591 FEET
TIME TAKEN: 3.5 HOURS
SUMMIT: Hawkin's Peak 2,720 ft. (did not reach top)
PINNACLES NATIONAL PARK
SAN BENITO COUNTY, CA
PREVIOUSLY VISITED: February 11, 2018
|Old Pinnacles Trail|
We followed the trail to the namesake Balconies cliff, which towers monumentally above. Then through the talus cave, which was dark and cool, thrilling to suddenly plug into darkness. Out the other side, we opened up into the canyon again, and looped back around on the Balconies Cliffs Trail, this time looking down into the canyon, and up to a fine view of Machete Ridge. Completing the loop, we retraced our steps on the Old Pinnacles trail back to the parking lot and returned to the campground. The fresh air and brisk walk were starting to clear the hangover from my head, and we enjoyed some brunch at camp.
Now for round two, we rallied the entire crew, including Amber and Scarlett, and headed for the Condor Gulch trailhead to begin the ascent into the High Peaks. This was the route I had taken on my previous visit to the park, and I was excited to repeat. Going up into the Pinnacles almost felt like ascending to some kind of religious temple the last time, and the emotion returned with vigor. There were a bunch of British (probably) university students at the overlook. It's pretty cool that Pinnacles is an internationally known destination.
And that was it! The light was fading, Dave Nelson remained behind to continue his vision quest, and the rest of us piled into Amber's van. Back to San Jose. I took Alex to Fremont BART so he could go home to Oakland, and I returned to San Jose for Deathgrave practice, but somehow my cymbals were forgotten, so we just went as a band to drink at Trials.
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