Today was an incredible day! As we traveled North with my family in the RV, kids in the back laughing, great music playing, the amazing scenery around us, and Jedediah there to appreciate it all with me; if I could have willed the sun to stay out longer, I would have. I wish all days were as stunning as today was.
We started our journey heading North on the iconic Highway 1 up the coast. Because of a long wet winter, much of the highway further North was closed due to landslides, but I wanted to take it as far as we could because of one particular stop I had in mind. It would require a bit of backtracking, but man was it worth it. In San Simuel, our luck was so perfect that we got to witness the male elephant seals gather for their yearly ritual of molting their fur. While elephant seals are no beauties of nature, they are incredible to see so close and in their natural habitat. From the beach we pestered the ranger with millions of questions about these bizarre creatures that spend the rest of the year solitaire, much further north, scattered in the ocean. We heard there loud elephant-like sounds they made. We watched them rough house along the beach and in the water. It was so insanely cool!
From San Simeul we back tracked and headed inland. I will admit I was pretty bummed not to be able to follow the coast all the way up to our destination, but what we saw instead was breathtaking. We drove through golden yellow mountains as we headed towards Pinnacles National Park. Every vista was so incredible, I would have stopped at each to take a photo, but this crew is all about sleeping in, which means we never hit the road until at least 10:30. But what can you do it's vacation, right. So with daylight burning and a hike on the docket, I tried my best to take it all in. Even without photos, I do not think I will ever forget how amazing that drive was.
We arrived at Pinnacle around 6 pm (we are the worst at making good time). We quickly put on our tennis shoes, grabbed head lamps and water, and hit the trail. Poor Jedediah, who got sick from riding up the windy road in the back of the RV, spent the first 10 minutes of our journey looking pretty terrible, but he recovered, and we hiked up into the mountains and onto Bear Gulch.
We were kind of disappointed when we discovered the caves were closed to preserve the bat's habitat, but after getting a good look at the deep dark caves echoing with bat calls, it became evident that Asher and Holden would never step foot in them. Luckily there was an alternate less dark and full of terror route to take you up to Bear Gulch, and while it was no cave, there were plenty of long tunnels and small caverns to put the headlamps to some use.
Asher was in heaven climbing all the giant boulders along the way. And even though it was a long uphill hike everyone was excited to reach our destination. At one point we heard water, then we began to see the trickling of a stream. After a long climb up a staircase carved into the stone, we reached the top of the mountain and the breathtaking reservoir sitting atop it.
We had the whole place to ourselves, and it felt like our own little paradise. I feel like the photos do this place no justice. It was such a beautiful place. We enjoyed our view for 20 minutes or so but finally had to pull ourselves away and get back to the RV and Grandma who was at the bottom waiting for us.