Sunday, March 2, 2014

Park Review: Mount Diablo State Park

Yesterday I attempted the summit of our local lone peak, Mount Diablo. An easy bike ride from Walnut Creek BART station, the southwest trailhead at Macedo Ranch is shared with cows and calves. The cow path is difficult to negotiate, especially when it's wet. This trail is signed Wall to Summit Trail, though the transition is unclear between some low shrubs and grassy hillside. Trail guides claim the loop I took was just over 6 miles, but it was much harder and I was thoroughly exhausted and sore after 6 hours.

Due to the drought the Park announced water would be shut off, but the restrooms at the trailhead were open. I carried and drank almost all of the 3 liters I carried. I was unprepared, though, for the chill and violent wind at the peak, 3,500 feet. For this you may want a spacesuit. My hands swelled and ears popped on the way down.

I watched gorgeous cloud cover pass overhead, sometimes threatening to bring distant rain close. I was delighted by the interpretive signs marking the K-T boundary, mollusk fossils, and other rock layers. There were some poppies and purple daisies as well as a flowering shrub already in bloom. The burned areas were interesting to traverse, charred on the outside and sprouting about the roots and sometimes limbs.

Nothing compares to the views. Even though the clouds covered the horizon beyond the San Bruno mountains, I saw farther than I'd expected. My technology swallowed the few photos I took.

I don't know why I'm not there every weekend! I'll be back again soon.

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