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Pinnacles National Monument

Pinnacles National Monument

April 1954: Section of the Pinnacles National Monument, left photo, where 30,000,000 years ago spewing volcanoes laid down fantastic formations. Boulders, right photo, some weighing 50,000 tons, stick between walls in Pinnacles Monument, now the Pinnacles National Park.

These two photos by staff writer Martin Litton accompanied his story in the April 11, 1954 Los Angeles Times that began:

Maybe you wouldn’t care for the Pinnacles.

A rocky place in San Benito County where the landscape stands on end may leave you cold, but in case you’re on the fence about it, right now is the time to go and find out for sure.

That’s because this the time of year when Pinnacles National Monument reaches its pinnacle of liveliness, to coin a phrase. It’s an overnight round trip via King City or Coalinga, through some of the best of California’s remaining wild flower fields.

Small though the monument is–14,500 acres–it’s off the beaten path, some 300 miles north of Los Angeles, and surrounded by quite a few square miles that the subdividers have not bothered yet. It’s a bit of the old California at its spring-time best, all the way from sleepy little San Benito right up to the spiry Pinnacles themselves, on the very crest of the Gabilan Range.

Capt. George Vancouver saw those towering crags in 1794, but missed the mossy gorges they overshadow. It remained for fugitive Tiburcio Vasquez to make use of the labyrinths and caverns a century later, and of all the eyries in which he’s reputed to have holed up, surely this was the best. …

The two photos above were recently posted on the LATimes.com Travel page: California’s national parks: A photographic history seen through The Times’ archives.  Below is another boulder image from the Archives.

The Pinnacles National Monument became the 59th national park in 2013.

July 1985: Pinnacles National Monument, now Pinnacles National Park, resources manager Steve Debenedetti, left, and chief ranger Edward R. Carlson take measurement between boulders in cave to see if there had been any movement. The measurements are taken weekly. This photo was published in the July 6, 1985 Los Angeles Times. Credit: John Malmin/Los Angeles Times.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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