the next day held another long drive, from visalia to monterey, but we had a stop planned along the way at pinnacles national monument.  although we would be entering the park on the less popular west side, the pebbles had scoped out what sounded like a very cool walk including a section through a talus cave — a canyon where boulders from higher up have fallen to form a roof. (sounds like a great place to walk, right?)  as seemed to be our pattern on this trip, we arrived in the late afternoon, as the sun was sinking, painting the pinnacles orange and pink.  since we did not have flashlights and didn’t know just how dark it would be in the rocks, we opted to do the loop backwards to get the cave section done first in case we needed to turn back.  there were a few blind moments in the deepest part of the tunnel, but between the camera flash and a few chinks of light far overhead, we scrambled through (discovering later by looking at the ‘throw-away’ photos used to fire the flash that there had been white arrows painted on the rocks to show the way — who knew? — albeit in the opposite direction since we were doing the loop backwards).  emerging from the cave, we passed through a short stretch of wooded valley and then climbed back over the surface of the cave section, earning further views of the sunset spires and peaks, and of the rising moon.

 

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