Monday, May 25, 2015

Salad and Pinnacles

We moved a whole 21 miles to the Elks in Salinas - $20 dry camping.  The beautiful and fertile Salinas River Valley has earned the nickname 'Salad Bowl of the World' with its vast harvests of vegetables and fruits.

It's a wonderful thing to see all the productive fields stretching from the Santa Lucia Mountains to the west to the Diablo Range to the east.

As we climbed into the hills on our way to Pinnacles National Park, rolling vineyards replaced the flat vegetable fields.

We decided to check out the west side of Pinnacles since it was closer to our home base.  Much of the road in was one lane which struck me as unusual for a national park.

After a stop at the visitors center, we decided to try the Juniper Canyon Trail.  It's only 1.2 miles, one way, with the first half following the canyon floor and gradual elevation change.  The wildflowers were lovely.

The pink ones were Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata) and the blue ones I couldn't identify in the visitors center.  Might be Larkspur.  Anybody?

These Butterfly Mariposa Lilies (Colochortus venustus) all had bugs in them.  I don't know if they were trapped or just intoxicated by the pollen.

After our easy stroll up the canyon, the trail climbed quickly into the scenic rocks.

It reminded me of Chiricahua NP in southeast Arizona.

Ron is pointing out a little tree/bush growing where it seems nothing could grow.

A little farther on I zoomed in on it.  That Lone Cypress has nothing on this guy.

You can barely see the parking lot - the light area on the left side.

I have a thing about rocks.  I know not everybody loves them like I do.  After all the switchbacks, we decided to go a little farther.

It was cool looking down on the rocks that had been towering over us.

Soon we headed back down the canyon for an estimated total of 3 miles, but a good workout with the climb.


  1. You like old rocks and your sister likes old rusty stuff. Do you like anything new? :cD

  2. Those are some good looking rock!! The trail looks great!!

  3. You got me at the mural ... I like rocks too ... great big red ones in particular.