First peak of the year, the high point of the High Peaks in Pinnacles National Park, Hawkins Peak. Crisp air and clear light gave the peaks on the hike up from the parking lot clear definition against the speckled cloud sky.
The climb was technical, a 5.6 rock route, but only one pitch, and before long we were all on top of the rocky lookout, with views to the west to the Ventana Wilderness and north along the Gabilan Range.

There’s always something about being on the summit, especially when it’s just rock, that simplifies things, strips away irrelevant concerns, clears the mind. Maybe it’s the focused attention of getting there, checking and rechecking your ropes and clips. Yet the scene is barren too, little vegetation, no distractions, just sky and rock and awareness.

And then you turn home. As always, the object is to get to the bottom safely. A rappel, a long hike out with the peaks aglow at sunset, then dinner and the long drive home. A good day.

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