Journey: 52 Hikes and more

Hike 41 – Roller Coaster Hike, April 25, 2010

Early in the morning, I drove in a semi-awake state to Danville.  Through my narrowed eyes, I noted some wild turkeys along the road.  Adrenalin socked my body awake.  I hoped these turkeys weren’t plotting a fatal attack.  They might be po’d at me for savoring their kith and kin.  They could have picked up hunting and stalking techniques from mountain lions that roam the hills and backyards of Danville and I may be their next target.  Thankfully, rational thoughts prevailed; I was not intercepted by wild turkeys.

Around 7:15 AM, I quietly walked up a private road at the end of a Danville cul-de-sac.  A sign had made it clear that if I did not behave, my fellow hikers could lose their access.  Many sections of the West are still open to the public because of the generosity of these landowners.  I respect their privacy and magnanimity, so I put on my responsible and honorable citizen’s act and walked with delicate and deliberate steps.  My shoulders dropped under the pressure.

My goal was to link my two previous hikes and cover section two of six of the Diablo Trail.  This would connect Emmons Canyon to Black Hawk Ridge.  Total distance including access to the trail and back would be about 12.5 miles with about 2,400 feet of climbing.

Sections of the Wall Point Road have the feel of riding a roller coaster in extreme slow motion.  The trail goes through some steep ups and downs and includes bends and turns as well.  This would be a fun trail to bike on.

Lost in thought and too lazy to consult my map, I made the first of two mistakes.  I did not realize I was supposed to take the trail to Curry Point and ended up slightly off-track in Rock City instead.  The unexpected reward though was that I was able to use the restroom and take some time exploring grinding holes for acorns and other nuts that were left behind by the Miwok native Americans that occupied this area.

The second mistake was that after drinking some water, I did not properly close the canister and it leaked about a cup.  It soaked my day pack.  Thankfully since it was a cooler day I was carrying water instead of Gatorade.  Otherwise I’d have had a sticky mess everywhere.

By 9:40 AM I got to my turnaround point.  The last steep section was not as bad as I had dreaded.  The majority of the climbing was behind me now and I relished that thought.

On my return I once again detoured through Rock City and decided to explore the sandstone outcroppings of Sentinel Rock as well.  There were many false paths leading to Sentinel Rock.  These tested my rock climbing skills as I unwittingly took the wrong and often steeper sections along rock walls.

Heading back from Sentinel Rock, I ran into a group of young men relying on a brochure with a vague map to get to the summit of Mt. Diablo.  I’m willing to bet that map came with a “Guaranteed To Get You Lost Or Your Money Back” clause.  I could foresee an evening rescue mission going out to find these boys.  So I pulled out my detail-heavy and heavy-duty Mt. Diablo State Park map and showed them the trail and pointed out the junction they had missed.

Shortly thereafter, I was approached by two women looking for directions.  They knew something wasn’t making sense.  Thankfully they had a good map.  They too wanted to summit Mt. Diablo but were headed in the opposite direction.  I flipped their map 180 degrees and now they were on their way.  I told them to watch out for the boys a few minutes ahead and help them out if necessary.

I stopped briefly to take some photographs of turkey buzzards before completing the rest of the hike.  By 12:20 PM I was back at the car.  The temperature had risen to 79 degrees.  I had completed one more section of the Diablo Trail.  Two more sections to go and I should complete the entire Diablo Trail once again.

Here’s a map of the hike courtesy of Google Maps:

Here’s a slideshow of photographs from the hike:

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