Pinnacles

If you like peak experiences, California has plenty of them.

Our peak destination was the “Pinnacles”.

We left the Prunederosa Ranch early one morning, picked up a couple of young sidekicks at their grandparents’ house, and drove through miles of  mega-agriculture, heading south toward our destination.

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Newly planted vineyard. Perfectly spaced, with laser like precision.

We drove up a long valley, through rolling hills, studded with california oaks.

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That bumpy bit on the horizon is our destination.

We’re getting near, here’s the entry sign.

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Us old farts can get a lifetime pass to most federal parks, monuments, reserves, etc. The cost? Cheap. Ten bucks. God bless socialism!

We arrive, park at the trailhead, leave the pass on the dashboard, and set off up the trail.

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We’re the first to arrive. In the shadows it’s almost chilly.

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The sun is bright, the air is cool.

The air smells of dust and rock.

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The scale of Western landscape is so huge, compared to that of the East.

Our voices echo off the walls of stone.

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When you’re seven, sometimes you have to run to keep up with a nine-year old brother.

As we get higher, views open.

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There is a lot of history in these rocks. This big ole lump has “cousins” down in the Los Angeles area. That’s what happens over millions of years when your cousins are on the other side of the San Andreas fault line.

We’re in mountains, looking at more mountains in the distance.

Over there, towards that pinnacle with the madrone tree on it, do you hear strong cheeping noises?

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Well, it looks like there’s something near the very top.

Can you check with the binoculars?

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What’s that?

Jorge say he thinks peregrine falcon.

Not one, but two!

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People have been there. Notice the chain?

And then on a ledge below the top, we see some motion.

Two big falcon babies are perched on a ledge.

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The one on the left is eating breakfast, probably a rabbit, for from time to time, after a bite, bits of fluff float in the air around the bird.

The trail winds around, up and down, in places there are steps cut into the rock, and even railings. Whoever did that work, years ago, did mighty work in a difficult location. Thank you, whoever you were.

We reach the crest, and stop to refuel. We demolish apricots, and peaches, and diminish the bag of trail mix.

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Revived, Small Mr. J. balances on one foot.

The other small Mr. J. turns a corner, and we finally have a good “sense of scale” photo.

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Uncle J., and nephews J, passing through a tunnel, ask for a photo to be taken.

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Then it’s out of the tunnel, down the last of the trail, visit the “comfort station”, hop in the truck, and return to the grandparents’ house for a late lunch.

A good time was had by all.

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