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San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo
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Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo on 05/23/2009 19:38:35 MDT Print View

May 16th, 2009
Walnut Creek, CA to Mt. Diablo
9 Hours, 22 miles
Temperatures: 90-98 Degrees F.

BPLer's Gathering of Gear Geeks

Jay's House

Infront of Jay's House in Walnut Creek 7am
Jeremy in Green Shirt, Giovanna left of Jeremy, Michael in Orange Shirt, Jay's son in Blue Shirt, Jay to the far right with Dark Blue Sleeves

Walnut Creek

The trail head was conveniently located two blocks from Jay's home and lead up to a ridge. Looking back, in the distance the cluster of taller buildings is located close to the Walnut Creek BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Electric Train Station. Intersections of Highway 24 and Highway 680.

Starting Out and Looking at Walnut Creek

Starting Out
Jay's wife and son

Going Up

Like Every Good Trip, The Trail Goes Up and Up....
Cameron in the foreground with white shirt

We are going there

We are going there
Mt. Diablo in the Distance

Brown and Green

Brown and Green, the turning of the hills
For a few brief months the hills becomes a beautiful rolling green wave of green grass, which quickly turns to the more familiar brown from the scorching heat

Marching Along

Marching Along
Jay leads with Aaron in the rear
Actually, on the whole trip, I was the one lagging behind bringing up the rear

A Closer View

A Closer View of Mt. Diablo

Moving Fast on the Fire Road

Moving Fast on the Fire Road
Despite getting an early start at 7:30 am, the temperatures were quickly rising into the 80's F.

View of the Hills

View of the Hills

Taking a Side Trail

Jay takes us off the fire road onto a single track trail as a tiny shortcut
The Fire Roads and Surrounding Trails are frequently used by trail runners and local dayhikers/dog walkers.

Striking Out

Striking Out across the Hills

Hills for Cows

Hills for Cow
Traditionally, ranchers have used this land for grazing, but as time as passed, money has been raised for the East Bay Regional Park system to buy the surround lands of Mt. Diablo. Cattle still graze and are frequent passerby's on the trail

Hills and Horses

Hills and Horses
There are quite a few people who own horses in the area and use the fire trails to ride

Jeremy's Crazy Feet

Jeremy's Crazy Feet: Vibram FiveFingers KSO Multisport Shoes
Jeremy takes a moment to try out a new pair of shoes with little arch support in an attempt to strenghten his feet and aleviate foot problems while backpacking in trail runners

Close Up of the Feet

Close of the the Crazy Feet

Jay Demonstrating Poles

Jay takes a moment to show Giovanna how he uses hiking poles on the trail

Jeremy's New Ready to Go

Jeremy's Ready to Go with his New Feet

The Winding Road

The Winding Road

View off to the Side

View West of the Trail

Looking Back

Looking Back Where we came from

Water Break After Rejoining Up

Water Break after Aaron and Micheal Rejoin Us from Trail Running
Jeremy in Green on the Left, Aaron in Blue Shirt, Micheal in Orange, and Cameron in the White Shirt
Note: Aaron and Michael are Ultra Runners. Aaron will be attempting to complete the 165 Mile Tahoe Rim Trail in late June in under 60 hours solo and unsupported. Michael has completed the 220 miles John Muir Trail Unsupported in 4.5 days.


Human Female- Giovanna
Contrary to popular belief, human females do exist and are not in the realm of unicorns and the Loch Nest Monster. Next week, I will be posting photos of Big Foot.

Keeping a Fast Pace

Keeping a Fast Pace
Honestly, this was the fastest pace that I have ever hiked in a group before and it was a struggle for me to keep up with the heat getting into the 90's. Being out of shapes does not help either.

More Green Hills

More Green Hills

Kicking My Butt

Kicking My Butt
This hill just seemed to go up and up
Had to take a few breaks to catch my breath
Why is this fresh air and sunlight good for me?

View from the Top

View from the Top of the Hill

Kicking Back

Taking a Break So I Won't Die
Left to Right: Cameron takes a break with his trusty Ti Mug, Giovanna, Aaron on the Rock, Jay obscured infront of Aaron, and Micheal to the Right
Note: Everyone else was doing fine on the hike, despite the fast pace. I was the only one really sucking wind from being out of shape.

Parasol for the Lady

GoLite Parasol for the Lady held by gentleman Michael
Actually, I have to say that Micheal was a very thoughtful person. Despite his ability to run endless miles, as we neared the summit of Mt. Diablo he lagged back with me to make sure that I did not go face down into the dirt

Picture Excuse

Taking a Picture as an Excuse to Catch My Breath
Looking West, back the way we came to show the elevation gain

Trail Meets Road

Trail Meets Road
Often the trail would cut across the paved road that allows smart people to drive in air conditioned vehicles from the bottom to the top to take in the view vs. cooking in the 90 plus degrees F heat. I guess I should be lucky that it is a dry heat. We don't have much humidity as other parts of the country.

Thank God!

Thank God for Air Conditioning!
Okay, there are a bunch of photos that I should have taken to document making it to the top, but I boinked out just did not have the energy or will to pull my camera out.

Enjoying Lunch at the Top

We are enjoying lunch at the top of Mt. Diablo inside the park visitor center where Jeremy was nice enough or concerned that I would keel over dead and bought me a bottle of gatoraide.

Tony & His Jam2

Tony Recovering
Made it to the top by about 12:30pm
5 Hours to the Top

Jeremy Putting His Feet On

Jeremy Putting His Feet On
Given that this was the first time that Jeremy was using these on the trail for any length of time, he was wearing these new "shoes" for only a few miles at a time to get used to them and not injure himself.

Victory at the Top

Happy to Have Made It
Left to Right: Michael, Giovanna, Jay, Aaron, Jeremy, Tony, Cameron

Observation Deck

Observation Deck with flashing beacon for planes at night
Oddly, the floor of the observation deck was covered in small flying insects that we could not avoid stepping on. Fortunately, they did not bother us.

North East View

North East View from Mt. Diablo with the Delta in the Distance that empties out into the San Francisco Bay. In the distance, you can see an open rock quarry and to the right of the quarry is the small town of Clayton that I grew up in

South Eastern View

South Eastern View

Looking Over the Parking Lot

Looking Over the Parking Lot
North Western View

Cameron at the Top

Cameron at the Top

Standing In Line for Water Fountain

Standing in Line for the Water Fountain
Aaron, Jeremy, and Giovanna tanking up on water before heading down
The top of Mt. Diablo is a bit of a zoo. You have visitors that have driven up, bicyclist, and day hikers

Jay Waiting To Go

Jay Waiting to Go

History Lesson

Your History Lesson for the Day

Another View of the Second Parking Lot

View of the Second Parking Lot as we leave the Observation Point and head back home

Pretty 1

Using my new Canon SD880IS Digital Elph for the first time
Moving from S230 3.2 Megapixel to 10 Megapixel camera with 4x Zoom

Pretty 2

Photos of Flowers have been Cropped and Enlarged with Photoshop Elements 7.0

Pretty 3

Pretty Colors

Pretty 4

Something Yellow

California Golden Poppy

California Golden Poppy, State Flower

Path of Flowers

Path of Flowers

Flowers Along the Trail

Not the Yellow Brick Road

Going Back a Different Way

Going Back a Different Way

Puff Ball

Fuzzy Thing on the Side of the Trail


Violet Something

Loving the Parasol

Loving the Parasol
Giovanna really enjoyed the shade and the freedom of not having to wear a sweaty and hot hat to protect her head from the heat

Trap for Lightweight Backpackers

Trap for Light Weight Backpackers
Just bait with Cuben Fiber or Titanium
Trap for feral pigs, have never seen one in all of my years living here

Spot of Water By the Trail

A Spot of Water by the Trail
Actually, this is a dry trail in late Spring thru Fall
I carried 4 L of water for the whole trip, but could have gotten away with 2 L of water and refilled at the top

Marching Along in the Shade of the Trees

Marching Along in the Shade of the Trees

Getting to the End

Getting Towards the End

Passing the Cattle Gate

Passing the Cattle Gate in Style

Going Up at Steep Green Gully

Going Up at Steep Green Gully
Butt Kicker, Starting to Boink out Again

Call for an Emergency Order of Pizza

Call for an Emergency Order of Pizza
Funny thing, as Jay was calling his wife to order pizza so that it would be waiting for us, Jay commented to his wife that it was not too hot. To which Cameron cried out in the background as if he was dying, "God it is soooo hot! It is sooo hot!"

Jay;s House 1

Returning to Jay's House Our Families Joined Us
Where we were treated by Jay to pizza, cold drinks, and ice cream drumsticks (ice cream cone with chocolate coating covering the single scoop of ice cream, individually wrapped/packaged). Some people were disappointed that they were not actually chicken drum sticks/legs. Cameron supplied his own home brew of beer to cool us off.

Tony Lives Another Day

Really enjoyed kicking back at Jay's House. Kids went crazy going on Jay's zip line and playing in the sprinklers and spraying each other with the garden hose to beat the heat.

Great Trip and Thank you Jay for putting this together and giving us a wonder and relaxing meal at the end!

Ridge Above Jay's House

Ridge Above Jay's House Early Morning Shot

Edited by Valshar on 05/26/2009 11:06:13 MDT.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Nice report as always on 05/23/2009 23:19:05 MDT Print View

Good job Tony. Sorry I couldn't make it.Good group to hike with.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo on 05/24/2009 05:15:54 MDT Print View

Again, I'm reminded why I like hiking in the wintertime. I enjoyed the photos, but the shots of the flowers were really nice.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Hike to Mt. Diablo on 05/24/2009 08:55:22 MDT Print View

Thanks Tony for posting all your great Photos...I don't know what we were thinking? I think that UL hikers are a little crazy times--22 miles in mid 90's it does not make sense but it was a WHOLE lot of fun anyways!!!! I am looking forward to the TRT......

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo on 05/24/2009 09:31:49 MDT Print View

I always enjoy your trip reports Tony, lots of pics and great narration. I need to get a local UL hiking group together out here. Thanks for sharing as always.

Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo on 05/24/2009 10:23:28 MDT Print View

Thanks for posting the pics Tony. Your new camera really DOES make a difference. The pics are very clear. Also, great use of sarcastic humor (my favorite kind) in your narration. In particular, love your flower descriptions "fuzzy thing" or "violet something."

Amazing that it was 95-100 degrees all last weekend and today we are looking at a max of about 75 degrees.

That was a fun hike, and kudos again to Jay for setting up the trip and hosting the after party, and Cameron for the home brew, which was fantastic, especially after a long hike.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Hike to Mt. Diablo on 05/24/2009 10:56:01 MDT Print View

Yea!!!! That home brew was fantastic Cameron!! Tony's funny comets about Giovanna being compared to the long lost Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster had me and the wifey LOL!!! Women really do hike to...

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo on 05/24/2009 19:36:01 MDT Print View

So you were back there taking pictures.
That was an excellent trip. I think all of us had a few breaking points that day.

I'll keep you guys posted on the summer plans we have going.

I know there will be a petition to try to get a few people to help out with Michael Popov's Supported attempt on the John Muir trail in mid July.

I think he'll be looking for someone to go to Piute Creek, Woods Creek or both.

I'll be posting my itinerary for my Unsupported quest of the Tahoe Rim trail here shortly as well.

Thank you everybody who came. I had a great time.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo on 05/28/2009 10:04:24 MDT Print View

It's unbelievable how well you put together a trip report. Even for a day hike I was hooked the whole time. For the record, if I had joined you I would have taken a cab from the top...or maybe even an ambulance. :)

Great pics too, that camera is really working out for you. I saw you mentioned having to shrink all your photos've probably already figured out a fast way, but I use the Image Resizer for Xppowertoys.

Just highlight the photos, right-click, and resize.

Thanks for the report!

Edited by Steve_Evans on 05/28/2009 10:05:00 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo on 05/29/2009 10:57:32 MDT Print View


Thanks for the link on the software for resizing the photos...will have to download it and give it a go.

Anything that makes the process faster is great for me with so many photos.

Glad that you enjoyed the I do more and more photo essays, it does get easier for me to throw them up.

Plus, I also enjoy looking at the pictures when I am at work as a small reminder that there is life outside the cube. :)


Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Mt. Diablo on 06/01/2009 13:48:13 MDT Print View

Great pictures as always. I am not a fan of hiking in hot weather. I did a Mt Diablo summit loop last weekend (Eagle Peak-Meridian Ridge-Deer Wall- Juniper-North Peak-Bald Ridge-Back Creek) when the temps might have touched 80 in the afternoon and that was still a touch too warm for my liking.