This article was written by Jonathan Weakliem.
On Saturday, February 21, 2015 13 adults, 26 scouts, and a younger sibling went to Pinnacles National Park for a two day car camping trip. This was planned last minute because of the lack of snow for the Inyo Craters trip. Pinnacles National Park is an old volcanic field located on the San Andreas Fault. Movement of the tectonic plates made a portion of the field move about 200 miles south.
After waking up early and loading up the cars, we went on a three hour car ride to Pinnacles. When we arrived, we discovered that we couldn’t enter the campsite until 1:00pm, so we decided to go on our first hike early.
The hike was to be a four mile, mildly flat hike on the Moses Spring Trail through the Bear Gulch Caves up to a reservoir. The cave was amazing! It was cool, dark, wet, and a habitat for bats. We didn’t see any bats, but parts of the caves are closed off during the breeding season. We went through a small winding tunnel and up staircases. It was pitch black, and some people were using camera flashes to see! Others chose not to use their flashlights to experience the full effect of the dark caves.
Sadly, after the caves, the main group made a wrong turn and went back to the start the short way. Only ten people went the right way and got to the reservoir! When they got back we went to another short two mile hike up the Condor Gulch Trail to an overlook in the High Peaks area.
After that short hike, we set up camp in 3 adjacent group sites. Some of the younger scouts worked on a wash station to get a lashing sign off for rank advancement while others just enjoyed being in the outdoors. In fact, we even spied some condors flying over a distant ridge!
Since we were on a car camping trip, we didn’t cook in patrols. Mr. Pinner had 3 grubmasters (one for each meal), and the patrols alternated duties of cleanup and preparation. For dinner we had pasta, bread and meatballs, buffet style. It was a great dinner, and for dessert we had marshmallows and a wonderful dutch oven peach cobbler made by Timmy.
After a pancake breakfast and packing up camp, we went on a 9.5 mile hike up to High Peaks, however a few people went on the four mile hike to the reservoir again. The start of the High Peaks trail was a steady uphill for three or four miles before descending. When we stopped for lunch at the top we had a brief rain shower with a very little bit of hail. After descending we had a nice flat hike into a short cave system called the Balcony Caves and out. The cave was much smaller and brighter, and in the end it opened up into a big room.
Back at the cars we had some friendship bread made by Donna Soga and headed out. In fact, on the way out it started to rain! We all had a pizza dinner at Round Table Pizza on the way back home. We got back around 8:30pm. Most everyone enjoyed the trip, and the troop will surely want to do it again. It was also a very nice time of year to go with all the wildflowers starting to bloom.
The trip was attended by the following scouts: Josh, Wesley, Riley, Nick, Max, Sam, Timmy, Vaughn, Jeremiah, Tyler, Carter, Cooper, Nathan, Wyatt, Logan, David, Jonathan, Jasper, Ben, Connor S., Connor A., Connor G., Kellen, Alex, Robby, and Owen. Adults included: Mr. Pinner, Mr. Brown, Mr. Wong, Mr. Hirsch, Mr. Beckstrand, Mr. Schott, Mr. Ebeling, Mr. Williams, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Spencer, Mr. Spencer, Mrs. Weakliem, and Mr. Bohley. Cooper’s younger brother, Tobin, also joined us on the trip.