Monday: (12/28) 42 degrees when we got up this morning at 0730. We had a good rain this morning at 0430. Rain really helped the temperature. I fixed egg, cheese and sausage sandwiches for breakfast. My hiking group members are almost all present by the time I walked down to the Visitor center at 0915.

Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151106_HDR Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151108a_HDR
We all carpooled up to the Bear Gulch trailhead and started up the Condor Gulch Trail. The views were crisp due to the rain but some clouds were above hugging the hill tops.

Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151113_HDR Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151113a_HDR
When we got up on the High Peaks Trail the sun poked through the clouds giving us a great view of the western part of the park. The clouds still obscured the Eastern side.

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I had 16 fellow hikers present. We stopped for lunch at the top where we had a close encounter with some condors last year. None were to be seen today.

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High peaks trail has interesting passages.

Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151132_HDR Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151134_HDR Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151251a_HDR
A really fun section.

Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151134a_HDR Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151315_HDR
We continued on to the Bear Gulch Reservoir and then back on through the Bear Gulch Caves to our start. On the last of the trail a few of us got a glimpse of a condor flying up at the top of the mountain. Timing is everything. We really lucked out with the lighting conditions on the rocks for photo perfect views.

Pinnacles NP Condor High Peaks Bear Gulch Loop 1228151348_HDR
Near the bottom of bear Gulch Caves a hippo was lurking.

My GPS track showed 5.8 miles with 2200 feet of overall elevation gain. Link to my GPS track.  I was dropped off back at camp by 1430. I had a ham and cheese sandwich for an additional lunch and showered. In the afternoon we got some sun at camp. Lou made cheese burgers for dinner.

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