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Hiking Stats as of 11/21/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Oct 12, 2014 - Donlan Point / Wiedemann Hill / Harlan Hill

 

Partners: (None)

Distance: 10.66 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,943 feet

Trip Time: 4:06

Maps and Stats:
Having done a lot of driving over the past couple of months, I felt like I needed a weekend off to recharge. Not a weekend off from hiking, of course, but a weekend where I could stay local and avoid the nearly 6 hour round trip up to the Sierra. Saturday morning came and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, which resulted in my not doing anything. Saturday night I started researching potential areas to visit. I wanted something that would present a decent challenge but I had done most of those already. I was considering going up a new route on Mission Peak (via Ed Levin Park) but decided to save that for another day. I spent some time looking at Bob Burd's fantastic website (www.snwburd.com) and browsed the full list of peaks in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. In doing so I discovered a trip that Bob had taken to visit three named peaks in the Dublin hills west of 680. The route looked to be around 10 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Just what I was looking for, nothing too difficult, especially given the unseasonably warm temperatures of the day.

Sunday morning I took the dogs on their long walks through the neighborhood, in no hurry since time would not be a factor on today's hike. I wound up leaving my house around 11:45 and was quite impressed with the Dublin Hills area - it is obviously an expensive place to live, with new houses spread out in the otherwise empty hills west of Dublin. This sort of encroachment always bugs me a bit, though, as more and more of the open land is lost to development. But thanks to this development we now have the Dublin Hills Park, complete with a nice new parking area where I arrived at 12:20. The first objective on the day was Donlan Point, a ridiculously easy hike from the parking lot. A nice trail leads near the summit and a side trail takes you to the very top. Temperatures were nearing 90 degrees, so it wasn't entirely without effort that I reached the summit at 12:35. Yes, a 15 minute summit hike. There was a picnic table on top and there were some pretty good views toward Wiedemann Hill, the next objective on the day. I was surprised to be able to see San Francisco in the distance. No doubt the houses will continue up the hillside until they too can see the City.

I came down from Donlan and followed the trail as it ran near the new development. Once past the new houses the trail started climbing up. I knew that the actual Park boundaries did not include the next two peaks I was going for, and so I was not surprised to see a sign indicating that the trail was ending in short order. This really wasn't a big deal, as I hiked up some easy grasses until I reached the first of a few fences that had to be either hopped or ducked under. There was clearly no risk in this little trip through private property, as there are no structures or houses around. With the help of the visible summit antenna I was able to easily navigate up towards Wiedemann. As I approached another fence I was surprised to see a car driving down from the summit and a hiker heading up. I had not seen anyone since leaving the trail and had no idea where these 2 came from. I stayed back to watch the interaction to see if perhaps a confrontation might occur, but nothing happened so I made my way to the fence and hopped over the barbed wire.

I hiked up the dirt road leading to the summit, where I arrived about 10 minutes later. I had seen the other hiker coming down as I went up, and I had the top to myself. From here there were fantastic views towards San Francisco and the Bay to the west, and over to Mt Diablo to the Northeast. I could also see where the other hiker and car had come from - I was now very close to San Ramon and their equally encroaching developments below. The wilderness this was not. I spent a few minutes exploring the summit area looking for the true high point. From where I stood it looked like the high point was near the antenna, and the view from this spot looked like it was the highest. But in coming back over to the benchmark I saw a giant rock that if climbed might be higher. I climbed it and now it looked like I was higher than the antenna area. Who knows, and with such a minor summit I'm not sure I should care this much.

I left the summit at about 2:30, aiming towards the third and final peak of the day - Harlan Hill. Harlan is lower than Wiedemann, although the the traverse requires dropping a couple hundred feet below Harlan's summit first. Another barbed wire fence was crossed (this one by sliding under) and I made my way up to the summit , arriving at about 2:50. This was not too exciting, with similar views (only not as good) as Wiedemann. The only thing left to do was to get back down, and I briefly considered going down through a forested area which looked to be a shorter route, although with more elevation gain and loss. In the end I mostly retraced my steps, back under, over and through a few fences before arriving back at the TH a bit before 4:30. I imagine this would have been a lot more fun in cooler weather, or when the grass is green and the wildflowers are in bloom. As it was, it was merely an okay trip.

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