This past weekend, Connor and I went to Pinnacles National Park. Going to a new national park is on my goal list for this year, but if you've been following this blog long enough, you'll know that I've been before, so that goal hasn't been crossed off just yet. Connor, however, hadn't been before. I was excited to share this park with him.
I haven't been on a challenging hike since July... or any hike really since then. (I briefly felt well enough to go up Sierra Buttes back in July.) But after walking 7 flat miles (or 11k) in a day last week, I was feeling like I might be up for the 9.2 mile (15k) hike up, down, and around the mountain.
Halfway up the mountain, we bumped into a pair of hikers that started when we did, but were a little faster. We took each other's pictures.
We took our time as we climbed up and up and up. I was huffing and puffing the whole way. Connor kindly reminded me that most people would be breathing hard on the trail we were on. Eventually we made it to the top, where we had lunch.
I can see the top!
One of the main reasons to come to the Pinnacles other than for the rock formations is to see the California Condors. There were once 27 left, but now there are many more that survive in three different locations; the Pinnacles being one of those. As we ate lunch and enjoyed watching the condors, the pair of hikers that had taken our picture earlier in the hike joined us. We had a great chat. For the rest of the day, we would sometimes see each other on the trail and talk a bit before one group out paced the other.
The California Condor has a 9.5 foot (3m) wingspan
I'm really proud to have done the entire hike without too much trouble. I feel like I've graduated from being too sick to leave the couch to finally being able to hike the way I used to. Also, in the end, we beat that pair of hikers who had been ahead of us at the beginning of the day.
Connor and I added a new patch to our collection, too! We picked up this patch at the visitor center at the east entrance. I've added a "Pinnacles National Park" entry on the souvenir patch map for those who may want to find one of their own.