We (Chris, Anne and I) adventured eastward today and visited the Pinnacles. A new, but not the newest National Park. Congress promoted it from its former monument status during the Obama administration. This is our ninth National Park this year. Then there are the monuments… It has been a very good year!

We entered the park through the west entrance, up from the 101 via Soledad. Like the north rim of the Grand Canyon, this is the less populated side of the park. The park entrance road was very similar in driving as yesterday’s Carmel Valley drive, similar winding and twisting, plus the same sort of country, with lots of wineries and ranches. The big difference is that the park road is all new asphalt. It was like butter. When we got to the park, it was hot, but when we managed to catch some shade, it was quite comfortable. No condors though, it was too hot for them. They head for the coast in the summer. We hiked the Balconies Trail that ended in a rock cave. In the spring the cave floods, hence the iron bars. They are meant to keep people out, not in, like at Soledad. The Pinnacles is half of what remains of an ancient volcano. The San Andreas fault runs through the park, so the other half of this old volcano is still down near LA. 

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