Hiking Stats as of 11/15/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Jan 23, 2016 - Peak 919 / Peak 1209


Partners: (None)

Distance: 9.42 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,087 feet

Trip Time: 3:43

Maps and Stats:
The weather was looking iffy for a Saturday hike, but after walking Marcus and Sierra for about 5 miles in the morning the forecast seemed to be decent enough for me to sneak an easy hike into the day's itinerary. A few showers were expected, but nothing of any consequence, so I decided to pursue a couple of P300's in the Black Diamond Mines area south of Antioch. I'd been to Black Diamond Mines a couple of times before, but never from the eastern (and free) entrance at Contra Loma. My car was one of the few braving the elements as I set out. I would not be in Contra Loma for long, as somewhere near the start the ownership shifts to Black Diamond. The early trail is really what I would consider a bike road, paved and with very little steepness. This was the only disappointment on the day, as the everything else was quite scenic. There were perhaps 5 other people along this first mile of road, until I hit a junction where a left turn took me to the Star Mine picnic area. From here I would see no one the rest of the day until my return to the road at this spot. I located the appropriate contours on my TOPO map on my phone (Using the Peakbagger App of course) and although the trail appeared to wind its way up to near the summit, I decided I would shortcut things and head straight up. This worked well for a few minutes, but before long I was getting into thicker and thicker brush. It was quite comical, as I had to crawl perhaps 100 feet on my hands and knees to get under all of the low branches. I finally came out and weaved a path to the summit of Peak 919 right as a moderate shower came rolling on through. Unable to take any pictures (I was using my Android phone) I looked for a way to get back to the trail and ultimately down to a valley between Peak 919 and Peak 1209. I reconnected with the trail, at which point the rains moved on and I got a nice shot of brushy Peak 919 behind me. I descended steep grassy slopes (cross country), to a green valley, aiming for a trail I could see far below which would allow me to avoid any unpleasant barbed wire encounters. Easy enough though, and I connected with the trail, following it for perhaps a half mile. This walk through the valley was very scenic, everything a rich and deep green, thanks to all of our winter rain this year. I found a long abandoned road leading up through the grasses towards Peak 1209, much to my delight. The trail had numerous acorns, most of which were sprouting roots looking for a place to take hold. The road led me to the top of the ridge before it turned away from Peak 1209, so the last 150 feet or so were cross country through easy terrain to the summit. On top I had a great view of Diablo in the clouds and back towards the green valleys to the south and east. I didn't stay too long, as I was wet from the earlier rain and with hiking plans for Sunday I didn't want to be out all day anyway. So I started downhill, but stopped in my tracks when I was treated to some fabulous rainbows. The rainbows would come and go for the rest of the day, adding even more beauty to a very scenic outing. I took a much different route back, instead of going up and over the Peak 919 ridge I stayed in the valley a bit longer, winding by a windmill (marked as such on the TOPO!) before following a nice old ranch road up and over the ridge between me and my car. On the other side of the ridge I wound up having to go under a barbed wire fence - the first such crossing of the day. The whole day I was a bit unsure as to whether or not I had left park property - there were no fences or signs to indicate any boundaries on my way over, but now I had to duck under a fence to get back on the main road. Back on the trail I went through trees and by a giant rock formation before coming to a breathtaking rainbow at the end. All in all this was one of my favorite hikes in a while.

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