Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.
We aren’t great at planning. Typically, Friday morning comes and we’re just barely starting to consider what to do for the weekend. This is how it was last week. We knew we wanted to camp and hike, but that didn’t narrow it down very much. I had heard about a nice place to hike called Pinnacles National Park, and we decided to give it a shot.
Saturday morning, we stuffed the truck with camping supplies and hit the road by noon. Trusting Google Maps, we followed the GPS to what we later found out was the West Entrance of Pinnacle National Park. Apparently, the West side of the park is solely a day use area, and the East Entrance (about an hour away) is where the campground is located. The two sides are not connected within the park, except by hiking trails. We also learned that even if we drove all the way around to the other entrance, the campground was full for the night anyway. We figured our lack of planning had gotten the best of us. Disappointed, we decided to stay on the west side of the park and at least spend the afternoon exploring the area.
Per recommendation of a park ranger, we did a short but exhilarating hike on the Balconies Cave Trail. The views from the ridge portion of the trail were incredible, and we had fun doing some light bouldering (this is often a big destination for rock climbers)!
Luckily, we had our headlamps, because this trail also brings you through a series of natural caves that are pitch black and require some spelunking! We spent so much time exploring the caves that it was dark for our hike back to the parking lot. We find ourselves adventuring after dark so frequently that we never go anywhere without our headlamps anymore.
Without a place to sleep for the night, we went to one of our favorite websites FreeCampsites.net, which shows you free campgrounds and BLM land anywhere in the US. We had our tent with us, but were also up for sleeping in the back of the truck (it’s pretty cozy!). Free Campsites brought us to a route called Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. It is a windy, steep mountain pass that pops out onto the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1). Along the road, there are pullouts around every corner where you are allowed to set up camp. After seeing multiple tent sites and car campers, we decided to snag one of these spots for ourselves.
We cooked a quick dinner with our camp stove and set up the truck to sleep in.
We woke up to an unbelievable view, which we had only guessed at in the dark the previous night. We cooked a delicious camp breakfast, made coffee, and took in our surroundings.
After lounging for a bit and cooking a delicious breakfast, we headed up Route 1 back to The Homestead, but not before Dana took a dip in the Pacific, I snapped some pictures, and we toasted to spontaneity.
Our weekend turned out to be a wonderful, random, exciting trip. Each time we don’t plan something and we end up somewhere like this, I become more and more of an advocate for spontaneity. It seems like we always end up somewhere awesome!