San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Thursday, April 8, 2010


...bats, night skies unpolluted by light, 400 species of bees and over 100 species of wildflowers. PINNACLES NATIONAL MONUMENT in San Benito County, California is a springtime paradise for hikers, rock climbers, birders and wildflower enthusiasts.
LOOK! Up in the sky...the folks with bird binoculars swore this is one of the park's resident California condors. Looks like a condor to me, alright!

This only APPEARS to be a dead tree.
Actually, it's alive with fungi,
Abundant woodpecker activity, stashed acorns (not olives!),
and ants. They're there -- guess you'll have to trust me again!
In my former life (young, agile and svelte) I made annual treks to Pinnacles, always before May's heat, to hike its trails and caves, watch the rock climbers, and to follow its wildly diverse wildflower bloom throughout the park's different elevations and habitats.
Until about four years ago, the only camping facilities, located at the East entrance, were privately owned and located outside the park boundaries by a little over a mile. The National Park Service has purchased the campground (with its pool and showers), and has embarked on a program of improvements that include the addition of hook ups and a dump for RVers. It's a lovely campground, *very* busy on Spring weekends; it does take reservations, and the best part is that old pharts can camp with hookups at half price: $18.00 a night.
Up the hill from the campground, at the Bear Gulch Nature Center (the original Visitor Center), there is limited parking for motorhomes so it's best that you have a toad or plan on an uphill hike from the campground if you want to push off to the various other trail heads.
On the East side of the park, Highway 25, a favorite of cyclists, is one of California's loveliest backroads, especially mid-week!