Very Hot Pinnacles National Park

Thursday to Sunday, July 4th to 7th, 2019

The original plan was to arrive on Wednesday after work. But better sense and in invitation to a July 4th party changed my plans. Instead on Thursday, July 4th, I dropped Caroline at the airport, picked Molly up from Milpitas and headed over to Neil and Patricia’s place in Livermore. Had a very relaxing day around the pool, good food and good company. Neil was recovering from a nasty bug, so it was great to see him doing so well.

In the morning I headed South with the hope that the campground had not given my campsite away. They hadn’t.

It was hot, and not great to hike in the afternoon sun. So instead I dismantled the front of the passengers side dash and installed the new dash-cam that was purchased the previous week. The installation was about 3 times easier than I thought it would be. Still need to permanently wire in the USB cable that provides power, but overall happy with the result. We will now be able to extract video from the camera using our iPhones, and most importantly the video will have our position stamped into the video.

On Friday evening I scouted out the South Wilderness Trail, the only trail in the park that I have not done. It seems that the temperature starts to go down around 7pm. Highs in the low 40’s and lows in the mid single digits, or high of 105ºF down to 42ºF. The plan will be to get up early to complete the 4 hour hike and be back around 9 or 10am to beat the heat of the day.

Well, I got up early, and it was very nice hiking before the sun got up, a little cold, and I wasn’t over dressed, as I knew it would heat up as soon as the sun hit. The South Wilderness Trail is wonderful, until it ends. There was considerable bashing through tress and following a fence line which took the most direct route up to the top of the mountains. My 4 hour hike turned into a 6 hour hike. But on the positive side, I managed to get to the top of both South Chalone and North Chalone peaks. Once at Bear Gulch, the Park Service bus just happened to arrive when I was there, and I just happened to take it back to the campground.

Saturday afternoon was spent relaxing and installing the wifi/gsm/gps antenna on the back of Molly. I managed to make a relatively simple job into something more complicated than it needed to be. But, the darn antenna is now installed. The lesson however is, don’t do something difficult in the heat of the day.

But 7pm I decided to go for a wee evening walk. So much more pleasant. I ended up hiking back to Bear Gulch and return. This allowed me to claim the entire loop, even if I did it in two legs. I also realized, for future hiking, there is nothing wrong with 4-5 hours in the morning before the heat and 2-3 hours in the evening. I am thinking Te Araroa trail here.

In the morning, instead of more hiking, I headed back to San Francisco to have lunch with Malina and Kristen. A wise choice.

High above the mist. This hike is harder than I thought.
The South Wilderness Trail, connect to the Chalone Peak Trail via a NPS boundary fence-line
Returning to Bear Gulch to finish what I started. Headed out as the sun started to set. The twilight lasts for about an hour.
Testing the new dash-cam on the drive home. Looking good. Just need on more part to finish the job,
Temperatures from the weather station.