MLK weekend was a beautiful one. Not only was it a 3-day weekend, but the weather was absolutely perfect every day! Yes, it was January. And yes, it was 75 degrees all weekend. Here’s a tip for those of you who come to The Monterey Bay Area: January is one of the best months out here! The locals all know it. They come out of hiding (because the Christmas tourists are finally gone) and get to soak up the sunshine and watch the waves roll up the shore. Although, from what I hear from the locals, this year was even more warm and sunny than normal – score!
It felt a little silly to leave beautiful Monterey on Monday, but we had just heard about a new national park (made official in January of 2013) and we had to check it out! It was only an hour drive, so it was definitely worth it. Pinnacles National Park did not disappoint!
We stopped in at the visitors center to get a map and then headed into the park for our first hike. It was a warm, sunny trail, which looped around some huge boulders where the temperature dropped quite dramatically.
Olivia hiked the whole 3 mile trail herself! I was so impressed with her.
Cliff just hung out in the ergo.
When we got to the cave at the end of the trail, I summoned all the courage I could. It had been a while since I’d done any spelunking! Doing it with littles was a little intimidating! But we were ready – we had our headlamps on and Cliff was strapped securely to my back. We made it through the first part of the cave just fine – we only had one scare as some people who were above us must have loosed some rocks. It was a bit scary jumping to get both the kids under what little ledge there was on the cave wall as the falling rocks echoed down the side. But we were fine – thank you Jesus! At one point, I was literally crawling on my hands and knees through the dirt and sharp, dusty rocks. Quite the adventure!
When we got to the pitch dark, direct descent into the main part of the cave, we thought about it for a few minutes, and then thought better of it. There are some adventures we’ll have to wait for until our littles are bigger! It was still a fun adventure, even though we weren’t able to finish it through to the end.
The hike back to the day camp area was warm and nice. Quite a relief after being in the cold, dark cave. We had a picnic lunch in the shade when we got back. Both kids ended up falling asleep in our laps for little naps. John walked around the area and I took up my sketch book to try to capture some of the beautiful spires around us.
It was a great, relaxing afternoon. Olivia played with some little girls who were speaking Spanish and got some good exposure to the language we’ve been trying to teach her. John and I played a round of Dutch Blitz, in which I finally beat him (he’s not here to defend himself! Ok, maybe I didn’t quite, but it was close!)
After we were all rested up we took a last hike along a steep trail. This time we each had a kid on our back. There were some gorgeous views on this hike.
We even saw what may have been bear claw marks on a tree! Or maybe just kids goofing off.
Cliff liked this tree.
It was such a wonderful way to spend John’s day off! We got some sun, some fresh air, and wore ourselves out quite well.
On the way home we stopped for dinner and this sweet lady bought our meal and left me a note that nearly made me cry in the middle of the restaurant.
It was a blessing! It gave me encouragement to keep on keeping on. God is so good about sending those things when you need them most! This was so very sweet – I won’t forget it for a long time! A perfect end to a wonderful day.