I knew the plane would help us keep in contact with our kids at college and it has. On Mother’s Day Betsy and I flew to Watsonville (closest airport to UCSC) to pick up our son, and then on to King City where our daughter had driven up from San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly). We then all drove up to Pinnacles National Park for the day. It sure doesn’t seem like a national park on the way up – there is just lowland brush and oak. But the Pinnacles themselves are indeed very beautiful.
My neighbor Lynn is a caver, and he invited me caving at a unique granite cave that had been scoured out much like the canyons of the southwest (whereas most caves are dissolved out of limestone). Usually I’m the one figuring out the logistics of these trips, but Lynn knew the best time of year (when the water level is just right) and one day he called and said, “its time”.
The weather wasn’t the best and we flew IFR in and out of clouds and through some rain to Fresno Chandler field, where we rented a car and drove an hour east. Lynn was excited because he usually has to drive 4-5 hours down the day before. This time we did it in a day and were back for dinner. We hiked in the one or two miles, put our wetsuits on and dropped into the caves. I was amazed. It was just like the southwest slot canyons, only granite! There were potholes to negotiate, waterfalls to climb, even rattlesnakes to evade. Overall, it was a heck of a lot of fun!
Well, maybe not an expedition, but it felt like one. I’ve ridden up Tioga Pass road in the spring before the road opens up higher through Yosemite. It is a nice ride and I’ve noticed the beautiful bowl at the top of the pass that looks like great fun to ski. But if you fly into Lee Vining airport, how to do you get your skis up to the bowl? The video tells the story…