"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pinnacles Natlonal Park- Bear Gulch Cave Trail

 Several years ago while working in Burlingame, CA, we drove past towering Pinnacles before it was a National Park and I knew I had to return.
What an unusual park to hike in with beautiful rock formations from volcanos and faults, caves and streams. This 5 mile round trip hike was steep at times with lots of rewards. 

The stairways and bridges  constructed by the CCC in the 1930s were needed to navigate the caves without the use of ropes and ladders.


We had our handy flashlights ready for the decent but plan on getting headlamps in the near future. Talus caves are different than lava tubes or those formed by water.

The talus caves of the Park were formed when steep, narrow canyons filled with a jumbled mass of boulders from the cliffs above. The canyons are the result of faults and fractures in the central area of volcanic rock. These shear fractures filled with gigantic toppled boulders are clear windows into the geologic wonder of the Park.

Descending into the cave we can hear the waterfall.

Our exit after crawling through some of the cave.

Moses Springs and the stairs we climbed.

Even though it is early spring and temps in the 70's, we felt pretty hot at times with the climb. This is a great place to visit in cooler months.

So many  spring flowers everywhere.

A invitation on the chair to reflect and add your thoughts to the notebook provided.

There was no phone, internet or TV in the park. When we got to the top, I was able get a signal to call my recruiter about the job I had interviewed for and make sure everything was on track. Until we knew if we were going, north or south, we really couldn't make plans.

Almost home and more to come on our stay in Pinnacles.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Henry Cowell Redwoods

We used to ride our bikes along the cliffs overlooking the ocean in Wilder Ranch north of Santa Cruz while working in San Francisco but never made it in to see the town and boardwalk. Once we arrived in Santa Cruz, we drove into the city to the touristy area, looked at each other and headed back to the hills when we saw parking was going to cost $30 and didn't really see anything that we had to visit. Too many people for us.

The Redwoods were just 5 miles up the road from our campground. Since we were up early, we hit the road and enjoyed our walk in the cool air.

Kind of looked like a face to me.

Redwood sorrel

Banana slug tidy up the forest floor eating debris.

Common Merganser I believe

Fulton covered bridge built in 1892 and believed to be the tallest covered bridge in the country and stood as the only entry to Felton for 45 years. In 1937 it was retired from active service to become a pedestrian bridge and was used in many films of that period.
We love farmer's markets and had to return to this large one in Moss Landing. On our way north, the 101 was just too congested to get across the road with our trailer and thought we would return in a few days. Mike even stocked up on his favorite hot sauce ( California Pepper Plant Sauce).

We loaded up on a basket full of goodies.

The drive into the hills was just a nice reprieve with temps in the high 60s.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Our revisiting places tour Highway 101

Our usual route traveling in this area was Highway 1 along the coast. This time since the winds were going to be kicking up we tried the 101 which turned out to be a real treat. The rolling farms and ranches were beautiful and no slow and go through the coastal towns.

I have never seen so much green in our time in California. It was usually brown or as they call it "gold".

Miles and miles of vineyards

Driving through the Salinas Valley reminds me of John Steinbeck's stories. The amount of food grown in this area is mind boggling. I wonder how the raise in minimum wage to $15/hr will affect the industry and workers.

This doodad was so the workers would have shade while harvesting their crops.

Mike found a treasure of an RV park in Marina, CA across the street from the dune and Monterey Bay. We had stayed on a beach in northern CA one time and found it to windy with the sand beating us up.  The dunes protect us from the afternoon winds without the tourist congestion of Monterey itself.  At night we can hear the waves crashing.
After spending time in the dry AZ climate, I am enjoying my morning walks in the cloudy morning marine layer.  

What a great birthday

Long-billed Curlew

sand dollar

We sat on the beach for 40 minutes waiting for the sun to set and saw whales spouting. At times they would show their heads and tails.

While riding the beautiful 17 mile drive by Pebble Beach to Carmel by the Sea, we met a young man on his touring bike riding from San Diego to San Francisco. Our ride ended up being 34 miles without a lot of wind on our return.

The Lone Cypress

Ghost tree

This morning while doing the laundry, I met a man who lived just down the street from us when we lived in Woodland Park. Small world.

There were quite a few paragliders just floating above the dunes in the afternoon breezes.
A surfing paddle boarder