Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pinnacles National Park

Camping With Pongo

June 18 & 19, 2016

Pongo and I went camping on Saturday.  I wasn't actually expecting to get a site.  I had no reservations at Pinnacles and figured it would be a busy weekend (it was) but figured at worst we'd spend the afternoon down there.  I've never seen it so busy.  However, we lucked out because a group didn't show up for their weekend reservation so I got the large site for the night.  Pretty sweet.

Pinnacles National Park, CA
Pongo -- Pinnacles National Park, CA
New Camp Stove
There's not a lot to do with a dog at Pinnacles.  We can walk around the campsite and on the road.  That's pretty much it.  Pongo doesn't care.  He loves coming here.  He's become a confident camper as well.  We took a couple of walks around the campground, but mostly I just sat under that big tree while Pongo explored as far as his leash would allow.  The woods beside our campsite were full of little critters (the Pinnacles campground is one of the best places I know of for viewing wildlife) that were making noises all around us at night.  Pongo kept his cool for everything except for what I'm pretty sure was a bobcat screech.  That one got me too, so I didn't blame him for getting a little excited.

California Quail -- Pinnacles National Park, CA
Pinnacles National Park, CA
I spent some time practicing night photography.  I'm starting to get the hang of it.  A little, anyway.

Pinnacles National Park, CA
Turkey Vulture
Pongo had us up at sunrise on Sunday.  That was OK.  We were both snoring by 10:00 Saturday night.  I packed up the site and we drove around for some early morning photos.  Our first stop was at the Vulture Tree.  I don't know if it's actually called that by anyone but me.  It's a dead tree near the visitor center that often has a number of vultures hanging out on it.  The first time I visited Pinnacles--back when it was a national monument--I saw a condor on that tree.  I was excited but I didn't know just how special that was.  I've only seen them from a distance since then.  I saw two on Saturday flying high above us.

Turkey Vulture -- Pinnacles National Park, CA
Pinnacles National Park, CA
Wild Turkey -- Pinnacles National Park, CA
That's pretty much it.  We had breakfast and took a few pictures at Pinnacles Outlook.  We drove home after that.  It was a nice, quiet trip.

California Route 25, San Benito County, CA

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  I kind of went through this last year in spring, as well.  Winter is the best time of year in Northern California for getting outside.  There's snow in the mountains, birds fill the wildlife refuges and the ocean and skies are full of drama.  In spring the clouds go away, the birds go away and while the tourists never go away they are out in bigger numbers.  With all that, I lose my drive to get out.  My wife basically shoved me out the door on Saturday.  "Stop moping and go do somethng," she said, or at least something along those lines.

Whalers' Cove -- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, CA
It was a hot weekend, so I headed down to Carmel where I figured it would be cooler.  It wasn't just cool, it was downright cold.  Well, for June, anyway.  I went to Point Lobos which was a lot less crowded than normal.  It's never super crowded like Yosemite Valley or anything, but sometimes parking can be a hassle.  That wasn't the case on Saturday.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, CA
I took less than 150 photos.  That's not a lot for me.  I was pretty happy with a few of them, though.  Hopefully this was the start of me getting back into the groove again.  We'll see.

The Old Veteran -- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, CA
Headland Cove, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, CA