Anne and I spent last weekend at Pinnacles National Monument near Soledad, CA. Definitely deserves more traffic than it seems to get but we were happy to have the peace and serenity. The rock formations are not as dramatic as Yosemite but they are great given their proximity to the Bay Area. There are 2 trails that take you through caves. They were formed over time by rockslides into the valley so technically they’re not caves. But they make for a great little hike, climb and crawl adventure. Both get quite dark in the middle so flashlights are required. The hike to the top also offers a number of loops and diversions that can keep you busy for an afternoon. Lots of great rock perches that make for great lunch spots overlooking the surrounding valleys. We also stayed at the Inn at the Pinnacles, a B&B 3 miles from the West entrance to the park. The B&B is surrounded by vineyards and has some nice views of the valley and hills. The owners are very nice. The only down side is that there is not much in the way of culinary adventures in the area. To compensate, the owners outfitted every room with a fridge and outdoor grill so you can bring your own food and cook. If you want to sample the local wines, the owners will sell you one or let you sample it for free at the daily wine & cheese hour. The B&B and the Park are an easy 2 – 3 hour drive from San Francisco. We’ll definitely be going back. There is a private camping ground near the East entrance so maybe we’ll try that next time.
Friday, May 13, 2005