Pinnacles National Monument is all about rocks. Massive monoliths, spires and canyons rise from the Gabilan Mountains, just east of the Salinas Valley. These remains of an ancient volcano are totally unlike the surrounding landscape. It is a place for hiking and rock climbing. We learned that the east side of the park is more visited, but it’s one of those “you can’t get there from here.” The highway into the park is not a through road.
|The Park Is also Rolling Hills and Chaparral|
|It's Easy to Find Solitude|
We enjoyed the virtual solitude as ours was one of only a handful of vehicles in this section of the park. We wandered on some of the trails to explore what the park has to offer and twisted our necks to admire the dramatic rock formations. While Tim searched the skies for the elusive California condor, I admired the tiny wildflowers that are starting to pop up on the ground.
|My Favorite Wildflowers|
|Such Tiny Flowers|
|A Touch of White|
We left the park and made our way eastward over the Coast Range on Highway 198, which was a beautiful drive. After leaving the rich agricultural Salinas Valley, we climbed into cattle country and enjoyed the hills that were green following the recent rains.
|In the Coast Range|
An odd tree along the side of the road caught my attention as we rounded a bend. I thought at first that it was a “shoe tree,” a tree which people decorate by throwing shoes into the branches. I had seen one of those in Nevada on the “Loneliest Road in America” many years ago. Closer examination, however, revealed this one to be a “bra tree”! Tim had driven past the tree by the time I realized what it was, but he decided that this one was too good to miss. He turned the RV around, and we returned for photographs. There were some really large bras hanging from the limbs. The tree made us smile.
|The Bra Tree|
We descended the highway into the San Joaquin Valley, often referred to as “the nation’s salad bowl.” I love seeing the patchwork of green fields with their beautiful and varied colors and long straight rows of who-knows-what. If I only knew what was growing in each one, I’d be more satisfied.