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Backpacking NoCal/Oregon Part 1 | Pinncales National Park

Well, I’m finally getting around to it. Almost an entire year ago I went on an incredible backpacking trip with some friends in Northern California/Oregon.

I’ll cut this up into a series to keep it short for y’all, and hopefully it’s interesting or you at least enjoy the pictures if anything else.

Tristan and Charlie got a head start and were already in Cali by the time the rest of us were flying out from DC. After Wyatt, Ian and I almost missed our flight because we were so caught up eating Potbellys and talking about Game of Thrones, we eventually land in Fresno, California.

Eating tacos outside the ballpark in Fresno, California

Wow! Could not have had more perfect weather in the last week of May, maybe a few days ‘til June. We had a gorgeous orange and purple sunset and we hung out downtown and ate at some local taco/beer joint right outside the minor league stadium. Food was decent, I had only been in Fresno for an hour but I was already sold on first.

The more time we spent in Fresno, the more we realized it’s actually pretty shady. We witnessed some interesting things in our one evening there...enough to decide; yeah, not too big on Fresno anymore.

A little background real quick to give you an idea of what I was jumping into: I’ve never hiked more than 5 miles in one day, probably have never hiked more than ten miles in a single month ever in my entire life. Nonetheless, I’ve never gone backpacking. You get the idea...I’m not a hiker. Now - I do workout, I’ve played sports my entire life, football, soccer, basketball, lacrosse and baseball and was even lucky enough to play throughout college at a high level. But being able to run gassers and lift heavy weights and then practice is a TOTALLY different type of conditioning and fitness than say backpacking or biking 20 miles. I also only knew one of the guys, my good friend Ian and I somewhat knew Tristan from working on a short film together. The other two, Wyatt and Charlie- never met em. And I was about to go on a 2 week backpacking trip with them.

Let's Begin

So the original plan was to hike Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite. But with the heavy snowfall, all the trails we wanted were straight up closed. Our permits were refunded and we had to come up with a backup plan on the fly. So what we originally spent months planning, we didn’t get to do and instead just winged it and got VERY lucky.

The mommy missile is packed and ready for the long road ahead

145 miles later we’re in Pinnacles National Park. Pretty cool place, not sure I would say it’s National Park worthy, however. It was a pretty easy hike, if I remember correctly about 5.5-6 miles long but not too tough. The trail we took went through a small cave system, and had a pretty steep incline along side of the mountain which provided some cool views and overlook point to take some pictures.

Do it for the gram
Ian jumping for joy in Pinnacle National Park
Cave entrance looking out.

Bring a headlamp or flashlight with you on this hike you will need it, although I recommend a headlamp to make it easier for you through the cave. Pinnacles was a nice “warm up” hike to start the trip, get the body acclimated if you will. I wish I had more to say about it but unless you’re in the area, I wouldn’t make a trip solely for this park. Now, I may be wrong, we only hiked one of the many trails and I heard one of them has a pretty sweet view at the top. So maybe we just didn’t explore enough. All in all it was good but honestly more of a pit stop on the way to our real destinations further north.

Then we hopped in the car and took a 350 mile trip north up to Redding, California! I have to say, I really love this part of California. Not just Redding but that entire Central California/Northern area we drove through. The golden hills, lakes, and large open land for miles and miles made everything feel so open. Stark contrast from the hills of Virginia.

I had to stop the car in get a picture. Truly incredible.

Once we got to Redding, we checked into the hotel and walked down the street to the nearest bar that looked good. Grabbed some beer and food.

Heading to the best bar in Redding . (maybe, only one I've been to)

We head back to the hotel to get some rest - brand new hotel too, everything was really nice.

Tomorrow the real journey begins. Trinity Alps


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