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Pinnacles was the next California National Park on my list, and Emily was kind enough to organize a weekend trip there. Eric, Taylor, and I drove down Saturday morning so that we could finish up some work Friday evening. The group had already packed up and started hiking by the time we completed the two hour drive south. We parked at a lot about a mile from the main loop and then took the Bear Gultch Trail up towards the Bear Gultch Caves. Due to my confusion over the meaning of the word clockwise, we ended up hiking in the same direction as the larger group who camped the night before. Thus, we did not meet up with them until later the evening. The high peaks trail loop was actually very exiting to explore and the Pinnacles, though not much in comparison with the heavy-hitters of the NPS, were worth the trip. I almost stepped on the largest wild arachnidI have ever seen on the descent, and we spotted multiple Condors circling above.

Back in camp, quail and wild turkeys wandered through our group campsite as if they owned the place. To be more specific, camp comosed of three very spacious numbered spots. That afternoon, Billy, Emily, Erika, Ouida and her partner, Danny, Denise, Andrew, and Melanie came back and we all snacked and drank adult beverages to celebrate the completion of our 10 mile hike. Nick had to stay home and either study and Eric spent a fair amount of the day listening to the A’s playoff hopes diminish on his Ford’s radio. In the evening, we made another cobber (over a gas stove this time), and ate an authentic Ramen dish prepared by Billy, the expert chef. Before bed, some of us more energetic folk played a game of Sardines. Then, in the middle of the night, I woke up to a chewing/rusling sound. Anticipating the racoons from the night before had returned, I forced myself out of bed to fight them off. Instead, I found a mama boar and her kid feeding behind a wire fence at the edge of camp. It was surreal and I had to pee anyways, so I am glad I managed to exit the warmth of my bag. Knee pain did not set in until Sunday.

Sunday, Eric, Taylor, and I drove back and the rest of the group explored the more spectacular Balconies Cave Trail near the Chaparral tralhead on the West side of the park. Unfortunately, there is no road connecting the two entrances to the park. On our way back we stopped and bought sodas for a dollar from the shady character posted at the park entrance with his ATV. Taylor let me have the final root beer!