It's that time again! Family camping time, that is! This weekend, Jon finally took US to a place he's been many, many times with the scouts: Pinnacles National Park!
We left after dinner (we had planned and prepared tinfoil dinners, only to have that plan foiled by fire restrictions at the park. No fires whatsoever, only propane stoves allowed this season, so we cooked the tinfoil dinners in our oven) and arrived after dark at our site. It was very welcoming and comforting to see our name posted on the site:
The site was spacious, but not ideally located... we were right on the bend in the road coming into the campsite, so we got a lot of headlights late into the night. We also decided we need to get Jade those light-up shoes for camping... she wandered away with no flashlight and ended up in the site across the road. We could hear her, but not see her... slightly frightening, but fortunately, almost all campers are wonderful people who hold onto lost children :) So, thank you, our neighbors in site 7!
We were fortunate that Weston decided to join us on our camp out! He's always fun and helpful to have around! (Sorry we kept him so long, Myra!)
In the morning, we had a lovely relaxed breakfast (I tried to stay in bed as long as possible after a bathroom trip and several small visitors to my sleeping bag in the middle of the night...), packed up, and got ready for a day of adventure!
But.. our day of adventure started a little too late. It was a fee-free weekend at Pinnacles... it was a holiday, I suppose... so Happy Whatever Day it was... but the park was extra crowded because of it. We didn't make it in time to park by the trail head, so we had to park down by the campsite and take a shuttle back in. Not so bad, really, just a little extra time to get going.
Once we did get going, we saw some awesome things! We started at Bear Gulch cave, where bats were roosting! It was a hot day outside, but stepping into the caves was a breath of cool stagnant air...
We passed by many beautiful cascading waterfalls along the way!
We have some pretty awesome hiking kids! They were happy and excited the whole way!
Jade did her part to help the hike go smoothly:
Since we were there the day before Xochitl's birthday, she got to choose the next activity. She decided she wanted to try rappelling! Sweet! Jon borrowed some static line, a couple figure 8's and set us up! Xochitl tried to go first, but, as anyone with rappelling experience knows, that first step and lean back over the edge can be a bit much, so it was actually Dawna who made it all the way down first:
After watching Dawna go, Xochitl decided it was ok and took her first turn...
...which didn't go exactly perfectly... just after getting over the edge, one of her shoes slipped off and went bouncing down the cliff... fortunately, it didn't go over the pitch where I was belaying down below, so it was just a matter of fetching it after the fact... still, I love this picture... one striped sock and one look of indignation...
But after that first descent, Xochitl was unstoppable! She ended up going down four more times, despite a long pokey hike back to the top. And we tied her shoes tighter.
Many thanks to Weston! This kind of activity is nearly impossible with four kids and only two adults... he spent a lot of time shuttling kids through the brush and herding kids on the trail and feeding hungry kids. But we did convince him to go down once. And even Jon and I got a chance to rappel also!
As a bonus, we got to see a cool stick bug! That was Jade's favorite part, along with all the "bebe-biders" and "bebe-bugs" (baby spiders and lady bugs...)
You can't see everything at Pinnacles in one trip... we'll be back again for other hikes and climbs and rappels! We love being outside!
Labels: Dawna, Jade, Larry, Naomi, Pinnacles, Rappelling, Weston