Dates: December 25, 2014 and April 14, 2015
Place: Pinnacles National Park, Paicines, California
Coordinates: 36.494948, -121.172994
Length: about 4.5 miles
The Pinnacles High Peaks hike I posted about recently is strenuous and wasn't suitable for my hiking group who are families with children, many of them pretty young. So I settled for taking them up to the mountain's shoulders, from Old Pinnacles half way up the High Peaks Trail and down Condor Gulch Trail.
The first time I hiked this trail was back in December of 2014. I was by myself then, trying out the trails I thought to take my group on. Having only one car at my disposal, I had to hike the entire loop and make it back on foot to Old Pinnacles, where I had started. When I returned with my hiking group we had one car parked by the Bear Gulch Nature Center so we were able to shuttle drivers back to Old Pinnacles to bring up the other vehicles.
The trail between Bear Gulch Nature Center and the Old Pinnacles that I hiked alone in December I wrote about in a separate post. Here I post about the upper, longer segment of that loop trail, and my photos are from both hikes: the one on December 2014 and the one on April, 2015.
|Wind Poppy (Papaver heterophyllum), April 2015|
The trail along the Chalone Creek is mild and much of it is shaded by oaks and pines. It is an easy trail to hike, and it is very tempting to simply continue along the creek all the way to the park's visitor center.
|Manzanita (Manzanita sp.), December 2014|
|Scarlet Bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius), April 2015|
|A Rock Rook, December 2014|
|Chaparral Clematis (Clematis lasiantha), April 2015|
|Indian Warrior (Pedicularis densiflora), December 2014|
|Lanceleaf (Dudleya lanceolata), December 2014|
So I only somersaulted mentally :-)
|Mountain Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata), April 2015|
|Painted Lady, April 2015|
|On a cooler day: male gnats mating dance, December 2014|
We continued down the trail, and I continued looking for more flowers.
|Coyote Mint (Monardella villosa), April 2015|
|Pinnacle, December 2014|
I remained a few moments more behind, looking at the family of acorn woodpeckers I had missed in December. They were very active and vocal. They have an excellent home in the Pinnacles, and I hope to see them again and again in the future.
The following day would be the last day of the group's camping trip, and we were to hike along the Chalone Creek, all the way to the Balconies.