Pinnacles National MonumentHowdy there folks. Whew doggies I woke up yesterday morning and there was a sure sign of fall in the air. I almost built a campfire! The warm days of summer are long past. Now’s the time I like to spend outdoors hiking around the local mountains where I can find colorful leaves to add to my leaf collection. One of my favorite places to head out to is the Pinnacles National Monument.

Many folks visit the Pinnacles during the summer months, but I find it to darn hot to hike around in the blazing sun. Now that the crisp cool days of fall are here, it’s the perfect hiking weather. So yesterday I packed up my junior rangers and a hearty picnic and headed down south to the town of Soledad where the Pinnacles gate was just a short 17 miles or so from town.

When we arrived, we checked in at the visitor’s center where we got all the information on the best trails to hike. Throughout the day we explored caves, climbed over boulders, and hiked to vistas overlooking 27,000 acres of pure unspoiled beauty. Some of my smaller junior rangers couldn’t make all the climbs but there was still plenty for them to do.

We ended up at Bear Gulch Reservoir where we had our BBQ picnic lunch we bought from BBQ 152 in Gilroy (just a short drive from Gilroy Best Western PLUS Forest Park Inn). Delicious!

At the water’s edge we observed birds, wildlife, reptiles, and bees. Here’s a surprising fact: it’s reported that there are over 400 bee species here in these parts. It’s the highest bee diversity per unit anywhere on earth. Imagine that!

After the junior rangers and I headed back home, I made a list of things I was glad we brought so I thought I’d share it with you.

Ranger Roy Pinnacles hiking supply list:

  • A flashlight for cave exploration for each person.
  • Bring water for everyone in your group.
  • Don’t forget food and snacks to keep your energy up.
  • Don’t wear open toed shoes–wear good sturdy hiking shoes.
  • Bring a warm sweatshirt and a Ranger Roy hat.
  • Wear sunscreen (it can still be sunny even during the cool days of fall).
  • Always bring a trash bag to haul out garbage.

Well folks it was another great day of fun and adventure. I did end up finding a few colorful leaves to add to my leaf collection. The junior rangers and I had quite a day and were tuckered out when we got home from the Pinnacles National Monument. We can’t wait to go again!

Until next time friends, happy travels and eat lots of garlic!

Written by Laura Wrede, Gilroy freelance writer and photographer