Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Climbed Mt. Diablo - April 2011

I had such an amazing time with my sister hiking Mt. Diablo last month. I have lived in San Francisco Bay Area for the majority of my life and I have never hiked Mt. Diablo. I would see it every day when I lived in the Concord/Martinez area. It's hard not to. We did the 7-mile Juniper Trail to the summit. We gained 500 feet in elevation and reached the summit at 3,849 feet. The observation deck at the Summit Museum will be closed but the view will still be beautiful. “Geographers claim that hikers can see more of the earth’s surface from the top of Mt. Diablo than from any other peak in the world with only one exception: Africa’s legendary 19,340-foot Mt. Kilamanjaro.”

I eventually want to hike the entire Summit Trail beginning at Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. in Danville but this was a good start.

This is what I can see from my bathroom window every morning. As Amber Meade would say, I can't wait "to make it my bitch."

This is what it looked like two nights before our hike. There was snow!


I picked up my sis at her house bright and early. We took the back road to the Walnut Creek entrance, stopped to pay the $10 to enter the park and chatted with the nice ranger who was incredibly helpful. Upon entering we immediately saw a huge squirrel cross the road. We overtook many bicyclists that probably had legs and butts of steel and the endurance of an Ironman Triathalon participant. After tight turns and ears popping, we finally found where we were going to park and stopped to take some photos of the clouds that were blocking our view of San Ramon, Danville, Alamo and Walnut Creek.

We began on our hike and it was a bit of a chill but I'm sure that wasn't going to last long. And it didn't because the incline immediately began and it wasn't long before the Adidas jacket was coming off. Just like the road up, the trail also had twists and turns. Yes, we stopped quite a bit to catch our breath and for me to look back at my sister with eyebrows raised, "Really?" I don't think I'm that out of shape and I was already breathing heavy? I usually walk an incline on the treadmill when I was a Bally's Fitness member but this was ridiculous.

We reached a higher point and we were about the same level of the clouds and the sun was shining. It was so incredibly peaceful and beautiful. I was so happy to be doing it and taking in Mother Nature's beauty.



We stopped at the first flat area where there were electrical towers, bathrooms and a picnic table which immediately gave me splinters as I slided onto it. We ate our snacks and chatted a bit, trying to figure out which city was which. I could pinpoint the 24-680 junction in Walnut Creek. I'd say we were almost half way to top. We continued on our way up as bicyclists and runners blew right past us. Peace. Good for you guys.

Then we finally made it. A few cars were parked there but many more bicyclists. We tried to take a self-portrait of ourselves at the top and failed after a few times. A nice bicyclist saw our failed attempts and volunteered to take the photo. We went to the visitors center where they had videos, a museum and a spot where you can touch and stand on the actual summit. Pretty cool. I did it as if I was Jack from Titanic. We found a window facing our side of the mountain, where Brentwood and Discovery Bay would be. We couldn't make it out exactly but we did find the bridge heading North in Antioch. It's just crazy to see this huge mountain outside your window everyday and here we are, standing right on top of it.

Bucket List Item - CHECK!

Then we began our decent and took a different route to explore more of the mountain. Going down is a lot less fun. And there's so much gravel that my Skechers were not providing quite a bit of traction. But we made it, was able to use our map and find the right trails to get back to our car. Getting back to the car was a lot tougher than going up the hill, in my opinion, because you're already tired. And I ate all of my snacks that I was famished. AND the clouds were dying off so the sun was beating down. Thank goodness there was still a breeze. I don't think I could do that hike during the summer.

We made it back to the car, took a detour to visit Rock City which was really cool, and then headed to Concord to try Peruvian food at Inca's Grill & Restaurant. It was super delicious. Then home...

Every time I see Mt. Diablo's summit, I smile and think "I was there." Good times.

Check out the below links for more information on the mountain, including a map.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/517/files/mtDiabloBrochure.pdf
http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=25098

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