Spring in California is such a wonderful time of year. Have I said that in past posts? I fell like I’m a broken record going on and on about it. Once again though, my socks have been blown off by the spectacle mother nature puts on when she floods these normally dry lands with water, causing the usually golden hills to explode with hues of green grasses and swaths of wildflowers bursting with color. I had just left Harris Ranch, which is one of my favorite superchargers and I was watching the sun set as I got closer to my destination. I was headed to Pinnacles National Park where I would camp for the night and wake up for an early hike.
I woke up shortly after the sun rose, getting a little bit later of a start than I had hoped and I set off for Bear Gulch, a small reservoir about a mile into the park. I set off down a short path and immediately saw a sign directing me to a bouldering area. The temptation grew for me to attempt a climb even though I didn’t have any gear; the rocks looked so inviting. I reluctantly reminded myself that that wasn’t todays goal and continued on to a cave that I had to pass through to get to the gulch. As I entered, all light vanished and I was suddenly encased in darkness. I couldn’t see an inch in front of me. Using the sound of the water dripping off the ceiling from the recent rains, I navigated my way through until I saw a hole of light appear in the distance. Sure, I could have used my phone flashlight, but that wouldn’t have been as fun.
As I exited the cave, I came upon a reflection pool that seemed as if it came straight out of a fantasyland. The water stood perfectly still causing a perfect reflection of the rocks and sky to jump off the pool. While jumping from rock to rock, I felt as if I had transported into a MC Escher painting. Which way was up? Which way was down? Only god truly knew.
I couldn’t end my journey here. I had to keep going. Seeing a small set of stairs carved into the rocks, I continued up. Up into the cliffs where I could get lost. As the day grew on I climbed higher and higher, forgetting that I had any other agenda. With every switchback another piece of nature drew me in. Over here a Bluebird resting on a branch, over there a lizard running across a rock. Next thing you know, I’m standing in bunch of wildflowers, bees buzzing around me drinking up as much nectar as they can.
After hours that seemed like minutes, I reached the top of a rock formation and it seemed like my journey would start its decline. I looked out over the vast horizon and could see the gulch I was at earlier in the distance. I truly didn’t want the day to end but I had at least seven miles to walk back to the car so I had to get started.
On the way back, there was one more treat in store. As I came down a thin set of stairs, I noticed two hikers in the distance pointing their cameras my way. Right above me was a California Condor, just chilling on a branch waiting for thermal for it to ride. I clicked away for a couple minutes until it flew away. Boy do I love California.
Closest Supercharger Salinas Ca 40.1 mi (or 54 depending on which entrance you drive to)
1606 N Main St, Salinas, CA 93906
Pinnacles National Park