On Sunday, my family and I went on a short weekend trip to Carmel Valley (our second time there). This time we woke up really early in the morning and drove to Pinnacles National Park, about 1 hour away from Carmel Valley, CA.
Pinnacles National Park is the remains of an ancient volcanic field. The park features geological sights, caves, condors, and rocks. A lot of rocks.
When we arrived at the parking lot, we saw a flock of tagged condors in a high tree. The park currently manages 36 condors. The park staff can monitor the condors actions with the tags to make sure that they are safe.
Next, we started with our trail. Our trail was 9.4 miles with elevation 300 feet. From the start, the trail was barren and dry land was everywhere. Our trail continued to be boring and dry. There was supposed to be a “sunny Chalone Creek” on the way but because of the drought, there was no water left. After about 2 hours of walking, we finally reached the Balconies Cave.
The caves made the trail suddenly more interesting. First of all, it was much cooler than the outside (since it was underground). We had to climb/escalade the caves in the pure dark (though we had our head-lamps).
We continued our trail the way back. There were vast amounts of dry land.
In the middle of the trail the way back, my mom and I felt like we were about to faint. It was close to noon and beads of sweat were dripping down our faces. Our car was parked at the Vistor Center, which was the worst idea ever. The visitor center is so far away from the caves and the cliffs. We decided to stop at a nearby parking lot that was 2.4 miles from the Vistor Center and my dad would go back and bring the car.
While stuck on the side of the road, many cars passed by and drivers had bizzare facial expressions. Even a park ranger drove by and asked us if we were okay.
After about 45 minutes of waiting, my dad came and picked us up. Rescue!
I do not recommend taking the Balconies Cave trail, especially in the summer. It is sweltering hot and there is nothing much interesting to see.