paicines

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Camping trip with my best friend at the Pinnacles National Park/Campground! 

This was my second time camping and both times have been with this lovely lady. I had a blast! It was crazy though. We got there on Friday night and my friend’s sister and her sister’s boyfriend set up our tents in the darkness. It was at least 11pm when they were doing this. Such bosses! I didn’t really know how to pitch tents (because this is my 2nd time camping) but my best friend’s sister and her bf are avid campers so they knew their stuff. After we were all unpacked and settled and tired as heck, we got into our tents to sleep. But these stupid college students arrived and started making hella noise. They were so loud and obnoxious (and probably drunk), totally not respecting camping etiquette. If it’s past 10pm, you shut the hell up because it’s quiet time. Anyway, my bff doesn’t take crap from anyone so she actually unzipped our tent and yelled at those people and told them to be quiet. Yup, don’t mess with this chick. 

I didn’t sleep too well during the trip but I don’t think you’re meant to when you’re camping. The next day it was HOT. And there were all types of bugs swarming around us. We were getting bitten everywhere. It was horrible. I felt like I was swatting flies all day in 90 degree weather. We did have an awesome breakfast though. My bff’s sister can cook! After breakfast we went on a short “hike” to get ice cream at the visitors’ center. LOL yeah. That’s how we do camping. And then we “hiked” back to our campsite and chilled there and snacked. 

That’s all I did during camping. Eat. Drink. Eat. Drink. I ate way more than I do at home. Since it was so hot, we had to wait until the evening to go on our hike. Sooooo I snacked on chips, beer and an apple (healthy!). Around 11am, my bff’s sister’s friends arrived and it was her birthday so we surprised her with cake and she made us lemon drops! More food and now bring on the alcohol! She made us cosmos too. It was so refreshing in the scorching weather. Then it was time for lunch so I ate some more. We had steak, chicken, asparagus, rice, strawberries, and watermelon. And yes, I had more than two servings of each. OMG. Such a piggie.

For the next few hours we talked and her sister’s friends’ husband kept calling me “Berkeley”. I was afraid he forgot my name. They’re really funny and sweet people though. They told me I should stop paying $750 to live at home and find my own place. If only it was that simple.

When we finally went on our hike, it was gorgeous and so fun! The Pinnacles has fantastic caves and they’re super cold so it feels great when you’re sweating like crazy and you step into a cool, dark cave. 

After our hike, we went back to…..eat! More chicken and chips! I literally ate half a bag of Kettle honey dijon chips. Not good.

The next day, it was literally 30 degrees colder than Saturday. It was cloudy, gloomy, windy, and about to rain! The weather was bipolar. We were multi-tasking like no one’s business. My friend and I helped pack up and take down the tents while her sister cooked breakfast. When we were eating, the wind was blowing all types of things and bugs into our food. Mmm protein!

We left around 9am which was really good. Even though I hadn’t showered for two days (I know, TMI), I still had a fabulous time. To see the stars without any city lights and to be so intimate with nature, it’s really something. That’s why I love the outdoors. It was also invigorating because I didn’t have any reception so I couldn’t check my email, FB, texts, etc (well I did miss talking to my boyfriend), and that was liberating. 

I hope I can go again! I really love hiking and marveling at the wonders of nature. Gazing at those stars with my best friend, we realized how insignificant we really are in the grand scheme of things.

Pinnacles National Monument, Paicines CA

Over the weekend I found myself in a place of forgotten childhood memories.  The Pinnacles National Monument.  Originally a part of an ancient volcano near Lancaster California, the San Andres fault helped split the volcano apart more than 300 miles.  Where the most impressive rock formations reside today.  Apparently i’ve been here a few times as a small girl, but alas my horrible memory strikes again.  Which is all the best, because I got to experience the park as a first time vistor.  WHICH WAS GREAT! 

Campground:

The campground at the base of the park includes a store, pool, showers, +100 campgrounds, mandatory small creek running through the grounds during the spring.  Each campground includes your standard picnic table, fire pit with water faucets scattered throughout the place.  Even on one of the busiest camping weekends of the year (Memorial Day Weekend) we were able to drive up and get a spot.  Reservations are definitely recommended to more of the secluded spots though.

Hiking:

The campground is unfortunately about 3 miles from most trailheads through the pinnacles, which can be a bit of a drag if you just enjoy walking from the comfort of your campground spot.  On summer weekends there is a Free Campground Shuttle which will take you to the trailhead of your choice.  But those stop at sunset, and it’s a long way back to the campground (we were able to hitch a ride back with some friendly car driving hikers).  There are also parking lots at the trailheads, so you can also just drive yourself right on up there too.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Accessibility: 4/5
  • Satisfying your nature & cave dwelling craving: 5/5
  • Overall Rating: 4/5