While on my way to Pinnacles National Park, my father and I happened to see a hitchhiker headed to the same place as us. We stopped the car to let him in, and I had the pleasure of interviewing him.
Amasa Warner’s car had broken down the night before. Still eager to make the journey from Los Altos to the Salinas Valley, he decided to extend his thumb and do what he had done so many times before: hitchhike. In fact, he had just returned from Europe where he was no stranger to this means of transportation.
Warner had spent several weeks in places like Scandinavia, Sweden, and Norway. While there he spent time in Abisko National Park, a polar region located just above the Arctic circle in Sweden. Warner was relieved to see the sun set because the year before, when he was there, the sun did not set. What Warner enjoyed most about the trip was the hospitality of those he did not know. “Sweden is a really accommodating place to travel because the quality of life is so high,” Warner said.
Shortly after returning from his trip, Warner made his way to Pinnacles National Park. He had been coming to the park for about three years since he found out about the location. He was referred by his girlfriend’s grandfather, a professor of ecology and botany at San Mateo College who frequently brought students to the park.
Warner mentioned that Pinnacles did not have a lot of ground to cover. “But it makes it feel larger when you have it all to yourself.”
What kept Warner returning to the park was the recovery efforts of the California condor. Warner had witnessed a condor release, which was a repopulation effort to help the endangered species. The birds were kept in a cage and had to be coaxed to enter the wild. According to Warner, the birds are bred in zoos and released strategically in their habitat.