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Recap of Fall 2015 Trip to Pinnacles National Park by Kathleen Wong, PGS Outdoors Club Chair

One pleasant Fall weekend brought 17 Presidians together for an opportunity to step outside of the classroom to experience the outdoors.  Pinnacles recently gained national park designation in 2013, making it one of America’s newest national parks. Just 3 hours south of San Francisco, the area is known for climbing, hiking, and some pretty rad cave and rock formations.  Suffice to say, I was excited to take the group out there!

Student Club: Outdoors Club

Our set-up was a full-comfort car camping trip with an epic group campsite set-up and “outdoor gourmet” meals planned.  We packed heavy because we could.  With activities such as volleyball, capture-the-flag, Frisbee, and card games, there was plenty to keep the, “more relaxed” outdoors-person comfortable. After settling in to PGS’s tent city on Friday, Saturday was our action-packed day.  

The group rallied for a five-mile loop hike to the Bear Gulch Caves and Pinnacles ridge. It was a sunny October day and Presidians knew how to keep it cool!  One of the highlights of the hike included a flashlight exploration of the caves.  Some even spotted tarantulas and toads in the darkness!  For the wildlife and geology lovers, the Pinnacles hike checked all the boxes.  Presidians caught rare sightings of the endangered California Condors nesting and taking flight, with a ranger interpreter nearby to provide commentary – such a treat!  Personally, I enjoyed some of the rock scramble portions that the hike provided!  When all was said and done, the group congratulated one another on a great hike.  The sun was setting and it was time to go back to the campsite to unwind for the evening.



Throughout the weekend, campmates contributed in teams to the setup and cleanup of group meals.  Some memorable meals included a fajita bar dinner and pancake breakfast.  Yes, food does taste better in the outdoors!

Following the meal, we got almost everyone involved in a casual volleyball match, told jokes and stories around the amphitheater, and even got competitive with an evening round of capture the flag.  I loved that each individual brought such positive energy to the group.  The stress of class projects and upcoming assignments melted away as the night drew on. 

At PGS Outdoors Club, one of our driving philosophies is to make the outdoors accessible by providing opportunities for all levels of activity.  We encourage everyone, from first time camper to full fledged backpacker to get outside and reconnect with the nature we as Presidians work so hard to protect on a daily basis.  Be sure to join us next time at our spring backpacking trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore!  

#tbt Condors, tarantulas, capture the flag, pancake breakfasts, and good company. I always look forward to getting to know these awesome people outside of the classroom setting! Go Presidio Grad School camping trip!

Posted by Kathleen Wong on Thursday, October 8, 2015

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