Privilege Blog

An Unprecedented But Benign Saturday Becomes Sunday Turns Into Monday, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:33am

When we started out, Saturday, my hiking shirt was rumpled,

the terrain, in order.

To end any pretense of mystery, my sister, my brother-in-law, my husband and I spent the weekend on what we called The Great Inaugural Hiking Foray. I’ve been venturing on small local hikes lately, and walking on my treadmill a lot, and decided to make a first real attempt at a hike in Pinnacles National Park. The newest national park, as of 2013, and the smallest at 2600 acres, Pinnacles is about 2.5 hours south of the SF Peninsula, just east of the town of Soledad.

It’s also a whole other world, but luckily transport is regular.

In any case, our Saturday hike, to the High Peaks, grew more, um, difficult. The trail sign, Steep and Narrow, was a clue. Have I told you I am afraid of heights? See that patch of over-exposed sky up ahead? Below lay a long, sheer drop. I would guess it was several hundred feet but I couldn’t tell you as I couldn’t look.

Here’s yours truly, Lisa P. Carnochan, gripping a metal rail with two hands, and staring with all my might at the rock on my right. You may understand why I myself took no photos of the view from here.

But, chanting, “Hello, rock,” and telling myself that the rock itself was my friend, I made it. I made it through the next bend, which was gentler, too.

The view from the heights was extraordinary. We even saw a condor, perched on a rock above us, ivory head in the sun, and feathers rippling around its neck like a boa for the opera. Overcome, I didn’t get a photo.

The loop took an easier route down, and we got back to our B&B just in time for the hills over the vineyard to turn orange,

and the moon to rise gold. Thank you, world.

Sunday, which I cannot even believe is yesterday, as it feels like another time and place, we took a smaller hike. First we crossed a, a what? A semi-arid meadow? I do not know what it would be called, but the walk from our overflow parking lot to the trailhead was no hardship.

None of my photos are good, I was far too absorbed by the experience, but I hope this gives you some idea of the glories. Sunday we took a trail called Balconies.

Wait. I’ve probably never told you about my other lifelong fear? When I was a little girl, I read the novel, Tom Sawyer. Young Tom and his friend Becky go into a cave, get lost I think, and in any case their candle runs out and total darkness falls. Caves have terrified me since.

Let’s go!

Headlamps on.

Somehow, having had to focus on the rock to navigate the cliffside, and with my family’s goofy head flashlights showing the way, I wasn’t scared at all.

The day remained beautiful, the Pinnacles high.

Hiking forays forever.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

22 Responses

  1. Yay you! I would be petrified to go up that steep cliff and even more petrified of the cave. And yet, the reward of that view and the sense of accomplishment of having made it up there would make it all worthwhile. I am envious.

    1. Jane, it was exhilarating. I would not have done it on my own, surely. In fact,I think the only reason I even set out to try is that my sister, an accomplished hiker and outdoors person, chose the routes, and we all agreed that if any one of us felt uncomfortable, either physically or mentally, we’d all turn back without a second thought.

  2. Brava, you! I’m also afraid of heights, especially edges of heights! And not much happier about caves, tbh. But you were very well rewarded for pushing on despite your fears. Gorgeous photos and I imagine they would pale next to “the real thing.” All kinds of pointing toward the ineffable, I intuit . . . As an Inaugural Hiking Weekend, this seems awfully promising.

    1. Edges of heights – I mean, usually I have to press my back against a wall, or sit down! I’m very happy you like the photos. I promise they absolutely pale compared to the real thing, which caused me to gasp and exclaim over and over again. Ineffable. And, yes, promising, I think.

  3. I loved Pinnacles. My first visit was last April (caves not open then), I would love to go this time of year. We covered a lot of ground, but not all, and seasonal differences are always interesting.

    1. I bet you saw a lot! And we were also thinking we’d like to go back in May, or April, as I can imagine the green buckeyes and the wildflowers and even running creeks.

  4. What a wonderful report of your experience – and since I share your phobias, I will be content with enjoying the beauty of your photos (which I think are just fine and truly transporting). Thank you so much, and better you than me! And thank you so much again!

    1. Thank you! I am so happy to share. Truly my phobias met their match in my trust for my companions and my sheer joy at how beautiful it all was.

    1. Thank you very much:). I am afraid of so many things, it’s kind of nice to think of general living as an act of course.

  5. It’s wonderful you challenged yourself. For me having looked at your photos I now know I will never go there – ha ha. With claustrophobia just looking at those narrow passages made my skin crawl. I can live without it it’s OK. But I do say good for you.

  6. Same phobias here, plus ophidiophobia – fear of snakes. Places like that are not for me. My heart is in my throat for you, reading this and seeing the photos. But I also feel admiration and some envy – good for you, challenging yourself in this way!

    1. At least we didn’t see any snakes…I could only do this because I trusted the people leading me and following behind to catch me implicitly.

  7. Oh WOW, that looks amazing! I haven’t been to Pinnacles since I was a kid, and I don’t remember us doing any substantial hiking.

    I’m not super scared of heights and the thought of climbing along those railings makes my palms sweat, so good on you for making it to the top! My geology geek heart beats faster seeing those amazing rock formations…

    1. I think you’d love the park, then. I didn’t know you were a geology lover; I’d love to hear your reactions to these rocks.

  8. …and all this time I thought for sure you were enjoying an unprecedented, benign Saturday showing Reggie Darling and Boy Fenwick all around SF! The happiest of all Thanksgivings to you and your beloved.

  9. That looks marvellous. What a wonderful place and well done, you. I am not afraid of heights, but really afraid of slipping and find myself going downhill really slowly. Also, I find it exhausting as I consciously think where I put each foot, while my friends just skip ahead. But love being out in nature – so fabulous that you have found this new pleasure. I bet you were tired!

    1. I was really tired LOL. I had forgotten I have quadriceps and they were good-natured but not silent;). I feel like a completely new way of adventuring has opened up.

Comments are closed.