Pinnacles NM

April 2006

I had been up visiting a friend on his 40th birthday in spring. Initially I had a social engagement on my way back to my home, but with it canceled, I found myself with some extra time on my hands. Knowing I might have some extra time, I had already packed my old boots, camera, and some film. The rain that was supposed to come never came, so I reveled in the dry northern California spring and tooled on over to Pinnacles. Although I get to the West side very frequently, the East side is not as familiar for me. With some extra time...why not?

I coasted on down the 25 and headed towards the East entrance, which I hadn't done in many a year. Aside from the ever expanding private development around Hollister, it also intrigued me to see that the campground had a NPS sign on it no longer private? It seems too like the East entrance has outgoing gates open past dark...could night hiking in Pinnacles be legal at last? Regardless, I parked the rental and took a path up Condor Gulch. I'd only ever been down this trail before, never up it. Up was quite different from what I remember. While I didn't make the loop around the High Peaks, I had a most excellent time in Condor Gulch. There's something magical about hiking admist clouds and, unexpectedly, the sun pierces through them and just lights up the vistas in front of you with a burning red glow. No photograph can express the rapture of that first sunbeam after weeks of grey skies above.

The Photographs

The sky was grey when I set out, so all the pictures are on a roll of Kodachrome PKL 200. The 64 went unused. The old Minolta manual system was in use. Click on "Next" in the upper right to begin.