www.MountainHiker.org

Hiking Stats as of 11/15/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet
The very first hike I ever took, back in October 2010 was to Mt. Diablo. During the next year I spent somewhere around half my hiking time here, as the proximity to my house, the fantastic views, and eventually the familiarity of the mountain kept me coming back for more. In 2012 I discovered the fun of the Sierra, which served as a welcomed reprieve from the hot summer Diablo months but also introduced me to more hiking styles, such as cross country, bouldering, and scrambling. I spent a lot of winter hiking time up in the Sierra this past winter as well, finding that I really enjoyed snowshoeing up to the summits of those peaks. This has left a void, however, in that I have not been to Diablo nearly as much as I would like over the past year. With summer soon approaching, I felt like I needed to pay a visit to my old favorite before the summer months make it a less than enjoyable prospect.

One of the great things about Diablo is that I am intimately familiar with all of the routes and trails, and so no planning is needed for a trip. And because of it is only 45 minutes from where I live, I am able to leave and return to my house at a reasonable hour. On this day I first walked the dogs for a bit over 6 miles, then waited at home for over an hour as my gardeners removed a tree that had blown over in those strong spring Tracy winds before finally setting off and starting at around 10:30. I hadn't planned on taking many pictures of the hike, as I have been here so many times in the past and didn't think I would see anything I had not yet encountered before. As a result, the only image I took before first summitting Mt. Olympia (as part of the 4 summits loop that I typically do) was of a colorful springtime flower show on the side of the trail. After summiting Olympia I spiced things up a bit by going off trail and scrambling up and over some rather large rocks that dot the Olympia ridge line. I had never climbed these features before and it was quite fun.

I made my way over to North Peak, the second summit of the day, and climbed up to the communications tower on the very top to take in the hazy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the view towards the main summit of Diablo. I started the trek over to the main summit as I had many times before, but as I started up I noticed some differences. First, I started seeing more people than normal. I figured that was just because it was a nice, cool weekend and they were trying to enjoy it before the hot summer days arrived as well. But soon I spotted an odd arch over the paved road which leads to the summit of Diablo, which I found very odd. As I got higher up there were more and more bikers, which again, isn't that unusual on Diablo's main summit, but as I exited the final trail and joined up on the paved road for the final 1/5 mile to the top I realized that they were having a stupid bike race. I started walking towards the summit only to have a security guy tell me that spectators had to go off to the side. I told him I wasn't spectating anything, I was hiking the mountain. He said that only race officials and volunteers were allowed to the top, to which I said a few things that I won't repeat here. There was no way I was going to leave having come all the way up here so when the guard started checking other peoples badges I just sidestepped him and started up the road to the top.

There were people everywhere so I figured to be okay, but of course they all had fancy little badges hanging from their necks and I had nothing but my sunhat and my backpack. No matter, I made it up to the next security checkpoint without anyone noticing anything but it was at this point that there was no way to continue. Fortunately this was all the way on top in the parking lot on the summit, so I felt justified in counting it as a summit (you can see the summit tower in the shot). At the checkpoint I was asked for my badge and of course I didn't have one at which point the security people called down to the other security guy and told him he needed to do a better job. With no way to get past this checkpoint and somewhat nervous that they would try to detain me or something I turned around and ditched the road, making my way over to the trail that circles the mountain. Knowing the mountain so well, I knew I could take this trail and get myself back to the other side of the mountain without anyone being able to catch me. I also knew of a shortcut that connects this trail to the much lower North Peak trail if I needed it, so I really was not worried about these fools trying to detain me once I made my way over to these trails. Soon a helicopter appeared, and I laughed thinking of the possibility that they radioed in for air support for the hiker who wanted to summit the mountain. No matter, I wasn't going to let them ruin the day, so I continued circling the mountain on the trail that none of them knew about, taking this shot of North Peak and briefly considering climbing up to the summit tower on the back side before thinking that might look suspicious, especially after Boston, and settled on this shot of the tower instead.

The trail bypasses the fun outcropping known as the Devil's Pulpit, and I made a quick ascent where I was able to get a much better view of the growing crowds on the lower slopes of the mountain. Apparently sitting around watching people ride their bikes is considered a fun activity. Eventually my trail rejoined the road below the security checkpoint (I didn't have to cross country down to the North Peak trail which I was hoping not to have to do). The growing throngs of people added to my irritation that they could just take over the mountain like this. What the heck? Apparently whatever excitement awaited everyone was soon to arrive, judging by the helicopter and all the people who were buzzing around. I finally figured out what it was when I saw this truck...the Amgen Tour of California. I of course didn't care to wait to see some guys riding their bikes up the mountain so I took off down the trail and as quickly away from this mess as I could go.

Now back to a more normal routine, I took only a few more shots the rest of the way. Before I could feel like I got completely away that helicopter came back and started buzzing around again, irritating me all over again. I tried to forget about it and continued on over to Eagle Peak, which would be the last summit of the day. I made it up there without incident, and set in for the long descent down towards the parking lot. Once I hit the bottom noticed a small army of wild turkeys marching in single file which I thought was pretty funny and helped me forget about the incidents up higher but of course that wouldn't last as my road home was blocked off by the county sheriff, causing me to have to drive about 10 miles out of my way because of that stupid bike race. Yeah, I'm still bitter about that.

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