Saturday, 16 March 2013

Pinnacles National Park

This was a spectacular surprise just a couple of hours south of San Jose.  We went for what we thought was a short hike one day during Christmas Week in 2011 and stumbled upon this geological wonder.  This park is actually part of an ancient volcano (Neenach erupted 23 million years ago) that had shifted 150 miles north from its original position on the San Andreas fault.  After years of erosion, the volcano  had settled leaving massive monoliths, spires, sheer canyons, and talus caves which made for adventurous hiking trails, at points of which we found ourselves clambering through narrow crevasses, squeezing past hanging boulders that looked like they were tossed from the heavens by some angry god and even  treading through the waters of an underground creek at some point.  We wouldn't have ventured very far if we weren't in the company of younger people so it was a bonus trip for us.  You can see some of the places we hiked through in the photos below.

The park is protected wilderness.  If it had been developed into a tourist area, this would have been named "Camel Rock".

Climbers assessing whether they want to come back for this...

Some of the crevasses that we had to clamber through

Great backdrop for a film shoot...
After you walked past this boulder, you could look back and see it from the top

Looking back at the giant hanging boulder from above

At the top of the climb, the reward - a peaceful lake

A friendly rock face to say goodbye to

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