Thirsty Thursday: Exploring Pinnacles

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: Ventana Rubystone

Hey Welliver Photography fans, its Thirsty Thursday once again...time to pour something yummy and make the weekend plans.

With the central California summer coastal fog in full effect, we decided to go inland to shoot the sunset last weekend. We picked Pinnacles National Monument. We'd been there once before, but this was essentially an exploring mission to get a better feel for the layout of the park and find some good photo vantage points. Pinnacles is a really underrated and rarely explored. Its amazing how many conversations I have with folks who live right here in the Salinas Valley who've never ventured down there. It seems to be a place visited mainly by rock climbers and the condors who nest there.

Unfortunately we had a completely cloudless and uninteresting sky last weekend, so we had to find something to shoot other than the landscape. And of course, if Terry's on an "exploring mission" he takes the exploring to the extreme. This almost always means that my subject becomes Terry putting himself in crazy places. He was in fine form last Saturday, scaling rock faces and doing a little bouldering.

If you would like to visit Pinnacles, head toward Soledad, CA, then follow the signs to the hills to the east. The final approach to the park is winding and hilly, so be patient. This area gets super hot in the summer time and there aren't services in the park (at least not at the west entrance that we visit), so be sure to bring lots of water with you...or wait until fall! The secluded nature of the park make it great for night sky shooting, but make sure you arrive before 8 pm, as a gate closes to entry after 8 (you can still get out though). There are hikes in the parking ranging from 1 hour to upwards of 5 hours if you like to the other side. Many visitors bring a flashlight and head for the caves that are open for exploring after a short hike.

Should be a great weekend so get out there and enjoy it!