P i n n a c l e s
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my boyfriend Brian & I went on a lil roadtrip.
We drove up to Monterey and walked around Cannery Row until the sun went down. I don’t usually go to any pier near where I live, but on trips I don’t mind being touristy. Plus, there are a lot of small businesses that we visited.
They had up some holiday decorations, which I L O V E!
We stayed at Hotel 1110, a small, refurbished, modern boutique adults only hotel. The room was a perfect size for us for the one night. It has bamboo floors, 2 small closets, but no mini fridge. No one is at the desk after 9pm, so we were given a key to the front door to get in, if we chose to stay out later, but of course we did not.
I was excited about the electric fireplace, though I wasn’t awake to enjoy it for very long.
The shower has a shower head that moves up and down on a track and the track has 4 jets. I wasn’t going to bother taking a shower before our hike the next morning, but did just to use it. Should not have been as thrilling as it was.
I do want to give a shout out to the restaurant we went to that night. Abalonetti Bar & Grill on Fisherman’s Wharf. The hostess and our bartender/server were just so damned nice and the food was so incredible. Like, REALLY good. It was walking distance from our hotel, so I was free to drink my face off with wine without any worry about driving. Highly recommend.
On Thanksgiving, we went to Pinnacles National Park. We picked the Old Pinnacles Trail to Balconies Cave. We entered via the East entrance. It wasn’t terribly busy that day, which was a plus. The weather was perfect. One thing to know, however, is the shuttle does NOT go to the Old Pinnacles Trail. We were told the shuttle will take us to the hikes, but it only goes to Bear Gulch. The park employee we first encountered when trying to park at High Peaks didn’t mention that, so it did add a lot of walking for us. The shuttle driver did have mercy on us after we mentioned where we wanted to go, and dropped us off near it. So, if you go, tell them you are going to Old Pinnacles trail, not Bear Gulch as they were having people take the shuttle based on parking availability at Bear Gulch.
The hike was mostly flat, which I prefer, and there were a lot of trees. When we got near the cave, there were a bunch of rocks we were going to have to climb & the temperature went down quite a bit. We were prepared with flashlights and sweaters to go through the cave, but I ended up not being that into it. We continued to walk up Old Pinnacles trail for a bit to find a place to sit and eat our sandwich. No condor sightings at all, but that’s okay. It just means we will have to go on a few more adventures to try to see some.
Since there was no shuttle back to the parking lot, we had an additional 2.4 miles to walk to the Pinnacles campground and then a bit more to the parking area. The whole thing was 9.3 miles. Fortunately, I had taped up my feet well and made it through the hike relatively unscathed. The parking / shuttle debacle did cost us a few hours, so that did affect our evening plans. I did read that the park has a shuttle, but am unsure if the shuttle always is like that or if it is a seasonal or holiday schedule, but be sure to plan ahead. My hiking limit is usually about 6 miles, so my legs were in some pain for a few days afterwards, but absolutely worth it!
We drove to Morro Bay after our hike but were too exhausted to go out once we got situated into our hotel room. I have been to Morro Bay many times, but always linger around the actual bay part. The last time we went up there, we enjoyed the Elfin Forest. This time, we walked around the shops. The owner of one of the shops mentioned an area that might have lots of Monarch butterflies. This is the season to see them and there are more of them than there has been in years. We went to Black Hill Trail by the golf course. She mentioned Eucalyptus trees, but we didn’t see any at the trailhead, bu thought maybe there were some up the hill.
The trail to the top is only about 1/4 of a mile and has a gorgeous view. We were delighted we did this small walk, despite it not being the one with Monarchs.
I looked on the map for any other nearby places that have butterflies and there is one nearby in Los Osos, so we headed out. As we were leaving, we noticed the Eucalyptus trees the shop owner mentioned for butterfly sightings, but went on our way.
No Monarch sightings at the Monarch Butterfly Preserve either, but it smelled amazing and was a lovely trail. Notice the horse between the trees.
We didn’t have time to go all the way to the coast on this trail , but are planning on returning another day to spend more time there. The Preserve starts at the end of a residential area, so don’t worry! You are in the right place!