Pinnacles National Park: Bacon Ranch and Bear Gulch Cave

4/5/16 (Tuesday) in Paicines, CA (San Benito-TT)

The campground will be having work done on their electricity, so power will be out from today (Tuesday) until Friday. Plus it’s going to be pretty hot today and tomorrow, so we planned some outings these 2 days.

We’d visited Pinnacles Nat’l Park about a week ago, but wanted to see some more, so this time we walked from the Visitor Center to the Bacon Ranch, built in 1865. Ben Bacon was born here in 1866 and lived most of his life here. By the 1900’s his ranch was one of the largest in Bear Valley, over 880 acres. He managed with dry farming (not enough water was available for irrigation), thus he had low value crops like wheat, barley and hay. He was able to outlast his neighbors, but then died in 1939. His wife Orea died in 1941. Others owned the property until it was sold to the NPS in 2006.

Bridge and barn, then house.

 

I wanted to walk a trail, but we didn’t find any that were interesting and short, so we drove to Peak’s View to have lunch, which we enjoyed with another older couple. Then we went on up the road to Bear Gulch Day Use Area where we could take the trail to the talus cave. Warning: this place doesn’t have lots of parking spaces, so go early on a weekday. Even then, we had to drive around a few times before a spot opened up. This is a talus cave, created when an earthquake set loose a lot of rocks over essentially a slot canyon. So those rocks created roofs in a lot of the area. There was a nice trail to the cave, then wow, was that ever an adventure in the cave! I was carrying my camera, water, and a flashlight while using a walking stick. I was grateful to have all of those, but really struggled getting through the tight spots with my hands occupied with protecting my swinging-from-the-neck camera and clinging to my walking stick. Very tight spots frequently!!! I can’t imagine heavy people getting very far. Lots of waterfalls along the way, as well as water to walk over (on rocks) too.

 

Once we got through the cave I wanted to return that way, but John preferred the trail parallel to it. Considering the tight spacing and water, I rather agreed.  Except we got lost, going on the trail to the Reservoir,  then ending up on the “Rim Trail”  instead of the one that headed back to the parking lot.   It was longer, hotter but we were rewarded with nice views and lovely wildflowers. Thank heavens for some climbers who gave us directions as we were trying to make our way back to the Day Use Area. The first flower is a “Sticky Monkey Flower”, the last is a red thistle that’s native to this area, not invasive (forgot it’s name).

 Our car is parked somewhere down there!

cave 14

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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