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Old 03-18-2011, 08:32 AM   #1
TheIronWolf OP
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Location: Merced, California
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Pinnacles National Monument

Day 1

Pulled out my camping gear from the closet, strapped to the bike and headed West to Pinnacles National Monument....it is time to open 2011 camping season...



Left all the boring and flat Central Valley roads behind ...I headed to the hills...warm air smelled like grass, flowers and a cow poop...what a perfect combination..



The road was twisted, bumpy and empty.. now and then ground squirrels would shoot across the road with their tails up in the air. Sometimes they would freeze in the middle of road for a split second and then run back. I could almost hear them screaming: "O shit! O shit! O shit!" It was like a game..



Couple hours later, I reached the destination and claimed the campsite..



Set up the tent, changed clothing put on hiking shoes and headed to the ranger station to pay for the site..$23.00 for one night! Next year it will be $25.00 and one kidney ...I swear..!



After all the formalities were completed I headed to the Bear Gulch to check out some caves..



It is almost 1 mile from the parking lot to the caves down this well maintained and easy trail ...



No pictures of the caves...you just going to have go and see them for yourself ...



The place was crawling with a rock climbers...



I think I would like to try something like this ...maybe next time..?



I found a quiet spot just a little of the trail, stretched on the warm rocks, got my book out and spend couple hours just chilling, reading and a little napping...life is good!



From my hide out I could see other people on the trail down bellow..



After napping I was hungry....so I headed back to the camp to cook my dinner..



Old good hot dog soup ...yummy!



After dinner I went for a walk along the Sandy Creek..



It was relaxing and beautiful day...



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Old 03-18-2011, 08:33 AM   #2
TheIronWolf OP
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Day 2

Next morning I was up and packed by 8am...drove to the parking lot at he trail head and headed for a 8 mile hike..



This time I started above the caves. You can see the trail on the right - sandy cliff in the rock wall. The caves are under those boulders on the left...



Looking back at the trail ...watch out for the lose sand and gravel...it's a long way down ...!



Crawled under some lose boulders..



Climbed wet and narrow staircase..



And continued down the trail..



Indian paintbrush along the trail..



Moss comes in all colors and shapes..



Lupine along the trail..



Continue climbing up..



Stairway to heaven..



Almost vertical wall had some holes for your feet and railing to make you feel safer..



I think this is the highest point of the trail...from here it's all down the hill..



More steps going down...just large enough for your heels..



Snack is plentiful on the trail...



On the way home one of those squirrels - street runners, stopped for too long...and hit my front tire ...ATA...



My ride home..



Some old sign along the road..



Took some beautiful dirt roads on the way home..



Wild flowers on the hillside..



I wish this road would never end...so and my gas..



Last mile of hills and then back to pawed roads, back to the Central Valley, back to civilization..



...and that's it ladies and gentlemen...!

No riding this comming weekend...leaving for a NY City tonight...(on the plain)...
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:37 AM   #3
benwiggin2
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OMFG!!!! Dude- what a great escape. Awesome, and thanks for sharing. Wow, just wow.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:01 PM   #4
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Pinnacles...?


Pinnacles...?


Aaaaah, yes, PINNACLES!

Now I remember, that's the little park I visited some two years ago during a business trip to California! Very nice area and a perfect one-day hike, if you do the long loop! When I saw some guys on bikes on road 25, I really wished I'd not sit in a boring rental car, but on my BMW. Looks like you might have been the first visitor in 2011! Next time I am in California, I will need to rent a motorcycle! Unfortunately my company won't pay for it...!
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:29 PM   #5
zandesiro
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Awesome pics.....Thanks for sharing with us....!!
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:31 PM   #6
rider914
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Very cool I dig ride n hikes.

Never heard if that Pinnacles NM before, but now its on my list.
Thanks!

-M
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:39 PM   #7
sealsam
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Wowza!! You captured PNM beautifully. Pics look great. Driven by the sign off the 101 many times. Now, i guess it's time to go see it.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:12 AM   #8
Sportakus
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Really pretty friend...

Tanks for show us...
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:58 AM   #9
BigT
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Fantastic pictures, I've always wanted to do just what you did! Pinnacles is only 80 miles +/- away, but I never seem to do it.

I enjoyed your photos a lot.
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:23 AM   #10
misteroldschool
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im amazed someone went up there carved the steps into the rock and put up rails, great hike great pictures :)
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:36 AM   #11
muskeg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheIronWolf View Post
Pulled out my camping gear from the closet, strapped to the bike and headed West to Pinnacles National Monument....it is time to open 2011 camping season...
Right on!

I love those landscape shots with no one in them! Great job IronWolf.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:11 AM   #12
Lima Tango
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Beautiful pics and great RR! Thanks for posting.

Pinnacles is close to me too and has been on my to do list for a while. Too bad about that squirrel; I hit one of those myself on my last ride down Hwy 25.

That last road looks like Jackass Grade. It's looking good in springtime colors!

LT
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:55 PM   #13
GB
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Beautiful ride! Thanks for the report and pics
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:46 PM   #14
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Very Nice!! Thanks for the RR and pics!
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:06 PM   #15
jonz
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I really liked this photo`



I knew about the climbing there but not the hike with the carved steps. Now I need to go back.

Also, Hwy 25 is pretty good for making sure you get some mileage out of the sides of the tires.
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