Friday we left fairly early from LA for the eastern side of Pinnacles National Monument, and arrived at the shady and oak-strewn campground after a long stretch of winding and hilly rural roads. I never get carsick or any other form of motion sickness, but the last couple hours I had been increasingly more and more sick-to-the-stomach. Unfortunately after setting up the tent and air mattress, which we finished fairly early in the afternoon, I was more nauseous than ever. I had overlooked the fact that Marie had previously had a light stomach bug of some sort, and I must have eaten the same thing as her a few days later, because it was a horrible pain. Slowly everyone else arrived and pitched their tents, including Susanne, Justin, and Eric-- who had an amusingly large, rented 8 person fortress tent. I napped and stayed in the tent until dinner when I had a few bites to eat before going back to sleep, still sick.
Saturday morning I woke up feeling slightly improved, but still couldn’t eat anything. The options were to skip the 12 mile loop hike I had planned through both famous caves (and a possibility of bats), to do a small dayhike by myself, or to tough it out. Well if you don’t know me, I’m pretty stubborn, so the third option was the only one. As a result, they were forced to go slowly, but we still had a good time overall. The first cave was not too far in and it was great to crawl through the tight cave (especially being 6’3”), but unfortunately no bats were visibly roosting. We continued the hike to the top of the peak in the middle of the park, and followed some precarious stone ledges around to the other side. This was made easier with some metal pipe railings, but be advised that if you are over 5’10” or so, it is actually more difficult because the railings are at mid-thigh height and just waiting for some over-brave soul to fall over the railing a few hundred feet.
At this point I started feeling worse and they had to go increasingly slower to wait for me, but after descending the other side and reaching the western TH and campground, I drank gallons of water and laid down. Next we hiked through a wash to the second cave and saw some even more impressive drops and descents, but once again no bats. (I was just in a rush to get through it though, so there could have been some). Once on the other side, it was a fairly level hike along a stream back to the TH. I felt increasingly better and better, and by the time we had driven back to the campground I felt good enough to eat a huge meal and enjoy the campfire.