Journey: 52 Hikes and more

Archive for the category “State Park”

Free 52 Hikes Photobook

Ready to choke down your internet connection and frustrate the rest of your family? Here’s a 100-page ebook (76 MB) with some of my favorite photographs from hikes for you. Like so many things in life, this too is free.  😉

52 Hikes Photobook

52 Hikes Photobook

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.

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Hike 40 – The Memory-less Hike, April 24, 2010

“Who is the Jackass now, Mr. 52 Hikes?”  The trail was mocking me.

Have you ever noticed how some names leave you scratching your head, “Huh?  What kind of a knucklehead came up with that name?”  I can assure you that you won’t be doing that on the Jackass Canyon Trail because only a jackass would venture out on this unmarked, barely visible, overgrown and wet trail.

My legs, body and arms felt like they were being sliced by a thousand bitter blades.  Would this improve my aerodynamic properties and help me glide through these trails faster?

The trousers were wet from the waist down, adding to the burden of the challenge.  And I was hiking with my arms up in the air.  A hostage of the thistle, wild on this untamed trail.  The uncertainty wore down my determination.  I was unsure if this was the actual trail.

Thankfully I soon saw a Mt. Diablo State Park boundary marker next to the trail.  There could only be one reason for the sign to be here.  I was on the right trail and that realization brought a smile to my face.

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Hike 27 – Getting the Devil off my back on Mt. Diablo’s Summit, February 13, 2010

I took a bite of my sandwich.  Ouch!  My jaws hurt.  They felt like they were caught in the middle of a fist-fight between Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.  Ali was smashing the left side of my face and Tyson the right.  And my legs felt like they had been run over by a fleet of Porsche 911s.

Granted, the Ali-Tyson fight part was unlikely to happen, and the Porsche part was not true either, but that could have happened.  What is indisputable is that my jaws really hurt.

Hours before all this, I woke up without the aid of alarm clocks.  It was nearly 5 AM.  Refreshed after a peaceful nights sleep, I was feeling good enough to hike and looking forward to flexing my legs.  But since I had been sick the last few weeks, I did not have too much time to plan a hike, so I decided to take on the familiar Mt. Diablo summit.

Since I live under Mt. Diablo’s shadow, it constantly nudges me and challenges me.  Therefore, each year I have no choice but to climb it multiple times.  Also, I like to climb it as early in the year as possible to “get the monkey off my back” for a few months at least.  It’s some strange mental issue for me that psychologists would surely love to explore at my expense.

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