Place: Pinnacles National Park
Coordinates: 36.492010, -121.209701
Length: 1.5 miles
Our plans for the last spring break were to spend the first half of the week at Carizzo Plain National Monument and the second half in the area of Mount Pinos, southwest of Carizzo Plain. High on our wish list was observing condors at Bitter Creek State Park or otherwise, at Mt. Pinos Area, as both these places are sanctuaries for the reintroduced birds.
As it happened, we fulfilled only the first half of our plan. By the time we arrived at Mt. Pinos (after failing to observe any condors in the Bitter Creek area), we found out that a large weather system was rolling in. Our hopes of sneaking in a short hike were dispelled when a sharp, bitter-cold wind, blew our faces off when we exited the car. We decided that a good vacation need not include unnecessarily braving miserable weather, so we drove off the mountain, wondering where to go next.
Papa Quail suggested terminating our vacation on that day and swinging by the Pinnacles National Park on our way home. Having taken the entire week off already, he proposed to stay the last two days at home with the chikas while I would go somewhere else on my own.
I agreed and soon we were northbound.
It was late in the afternoon when we arrived at the Pinnacles, entering the park from the west. The sun was already low and we had only little daylight time left for a hike. A short hike it would have to be.
We hiked the familiar and always beautiful trail to the Balconies. A quick in and out, without going into the cave or up the Balconies cliffs.
|Our hike to The Balconies as captured by Papa Quail's GPS|
There were lots of flowers everywhere. Some, indeed, were already on the decline, but many others appeared to have just begun their bloom.
|Valley Lupine (Lupinus microcarpus var. microcarpus)|
And laced in all that green were numerous colorful wildflowers.
|Western Larkspur (Delphinium hesperium ssp. hesperium)|
Papa Quail was on the lookout for birds and my elder chika was pointing them to him.
|Northern Flicker, western, male|
At that point, Papa Quail was ready to just get to the car and drive off, but he yielded to elder chika who insisted he should photograph the bluebird she saw.
|Western Bluebird, male|
|Contorted Suncup (Camissonia contorta)|
|The trail leading into Chalone Creek|
|California Quail, male|