I never expected to hike after the sun goes down, in the dark and with flash lights on, but last Saturday we, March and Munch hiking team, just did that.
We started off around 9 am from San Jose. After 2 hours drive, we were soon at the west gate of the Pinnacles National Monument. By the time we got there, we were all hungry, so we had a nice picnic for some energy before tackling the 8 miles grand loop of the park.
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As you may see from the trail map, we started from the High Peak Trail at the west gate, made our way up 1400 ft to the very top of the mountain. Although the trail was all zig zag way up, we enjoyed the breathtaking views of these giant rocks. California condors were soaring among mountains, so effortless. And as we got close to the tops, we stopped to admire these impressive vultures, and serene.
Along the way, I constantly smelled a kind of aroma resembling the smell of honey. This got confirmed with other girls on the team. At first, we thought there must be a bee hive nearby, but then the smells were so frequent that it could hardly be so many bee hives according to the habitat of bees. Then we suspect it could be a certain kind of plant or bushes. Any ideas?
We reached the top and rested for some kiwis and apples. Then we hiked down to the Reservoir area. We were meant to go through the Bear Gulch Cave which was just opened for the season, but we bypassed it because we were told it’s too wet for hiking.
Just when we were feeling a little pitted about the Caves, we met a couple of professional rock climbers who gave us a live climbing show that we ever could asked for. To tell you the truth, I did not dare to make any sound and my knees felt weak while watching them climbing, as if I would fall off the cliff at any moment. That was pretty much everyone’s first time seeing real rock climbing just in front of our eyes.
The early spring was perfect for hiking in this area. The air was crisp, warm under the sun but not too cold in the shades and the wildflowers just start to bloom.
It was almost 4:30 pm when we arrived the east gate of the park. We munched on some homemade Korean sushi that we carried along the way and decided to hurry back to the west gate as soon as possible.
To get back to where we started, we basically had to climb up that 1400 ft we did at the beginning because we went down to get to the east gate. On the hill-top, we saw our parking lot. Right there, so close from our eyes, yet so far away from our feet…
Around 6:30 pm, we found ourselves hiking in the dark and disturbing lots of bats. Fortunately, we carried flashlights. That was meant for the Cave hiking, but they got pretty handy in the dark!
But someone still fell off the butt and that was me…
When we eventually got back to our parking lot, we were all very ready to drive back to the bay area. This was the longest 2 hour drive I ever felt, super exhausted and completely drained. In the car, seven of us started to talking about what to eat at this late. At the end, we settled for a bowl of heart warming homemade noodle soup. Since it was so late that no Asian markets were within short time reach, we need to get noodles and vegetables from one person’s place and then go to another person’s place for eggs and for the cooking. Finally, right at 10:00 pm, we all filled tummies with bowls of simmering egg and vegetable noodle soup. It couldn’t be any simple but it was Very Very GOOD!