Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pinnacles National Park Part 1

This was our first weekend "vacation" trip this summer. We headed out of La Casa Kautz with Pinnacles National Park as the destination. 

Loaded and ready to go.
Pinnacles National Park was originally established as Pinnacles National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 covering only 2500 acres. It has steadily increased over the years until it was designated Pinnacles National Park, signed into law by President Obama on January 10, 2013, and is currently 26,000 acres.

I'm not going to go into the whole history of the park, but if you want to read about it, go here and  I think you'll probably find it quite interesting.

We met my son and his family in town and drove together the four hours to the park. We had side by side spaces reserved.

The park is designed for the hiker, rock climber, and if you're into caves, there are a few of them too. Only problem with a lot of the places to see is that you have to hike to get to them. Some trails are a little over a mile and others are up to eight or nine miles. Since I don't hike so well, we didn't see a lot of the "good" stuff, but here is what we did see.

I took something like 34 pictures so I'm going to split them up over 3 or 4 posts so I don't bore you with the home movies. Once you look through them, if you have any questions, leave them on the comments section and I'll do my best to answer them.

So here we go...........


A lot of quail

Our spot and the RV behind is my son's.

What was behind our spot
The area behind the spot dropped off about 15 feet and there was a very small creek on the bottom. That was everything from Friday except the presentation on the California Condor by the Park Rangers. They have this cool amphitheater where they show slides and give talks about interesting animals that inhabit the park. Friday night it was about the California Condor.

I won't go into a lot, but in 1982 there was only 22 in existence. The California Condor is a butt ugly bird with a 10 foot wingspan. It looks like a HUGE Turkey Vulture. With all the hard work the Park Service has done in protecting the California Condor, today there are more than 400 in the wild.

They continually track the birds and some even have GPS trackers on them that are even equipped with small solar cells to power the GPS. They breed them in captivity and then release them into the wild. They keep track of the eggs that are laid in the wild and protect them from predators. They are vigilant about what they eat because lead was what made them almost extinct. Lead from bullets.

The California Condor, like the Turkey Vulture is a carrion eater. Farmers and ranchers would kill coyotes and other varmints with ammunition having a lead bullet. The bullet would fragment in the dead animal and the Condor would eat the meat and the lead. Most died from lead poisoning.

Pinnacles National Park is one of only three places that breed the Condor. The other two are in Southern California and New Mexico. One hundred years ago the California Condor could be found in most of Washington, Oregon, California, and even a small space in Florida. Today there are 3 small spots on the map. Two in Central California and the other one in New Mexico. It was a definite eye opener.    

Friday night
The fog is the Marine Layer. If you're not familiar with the term, it's the fog that rolls ashore over night. They've made a couple horror movies about it, but no monsters here.

Another direction

Almost a full moon

The fire pit

I thought this was a Condor
During the presentation they showed the difference between the Condor and the Vulture and this is a Turkey Vulture, I think. Pretty hard to see from that distance.

That's it for Friday. Tomorrow I'd get into part two and the hike we took.

Till then....


  1. Mark
    What type quail are those, I know the quail back here are delicious to eat; these certainly looked like a different species? Was there any place there to wet a fly? Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi Bill. David says California Quail. David would know better than I would. Fishing was non-existent and you'll see why in this afternoons post.

  2. Hmmm, looks like a condor to me but what to I know.

  3.'s beautiful area. That's a California quail.

  4. Bill, those quail are the ones that make for some fine soft hackle, along wiith fine table fare.

    1. No quail hunting in the park even though they are some nice soft hackle on the hoof. There were more Park Rangers there then I've seen in my entire life.

  5. enjoy you vacation with the family!

  6. Mark, thanks for sharing your first weekend out camping with the rest of us. Appreciate how you detailed information about the Condor. Learning something new is a real benefit from the great blogs I read.

  7. Glad to hear you were able to get out with family, those trips are always the best. The presentations about Condors sounds cool. I did a report about California Condors when I was a kid when they were in the thick of trying to repopulate by breeding them in captivity. cool stuff!