Journey: 52 Hikes and more

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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

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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 37 – The Wind Battered Diablo Trail, April 10, 2010

Ever tried reasoning with the wind?  Here’s a tip: don’t, because you can’t.

That is exactly what I was trying to do on the trail and it was not working.  The meteorologists had called it wrong again.  According to them, we would have winds of 12-13 miles in the morning, 20-30 miles in the afternoon, while some areas along the coast might get up to 60 mph winds later in the day.  These were more like 80 mile winds on steroids smacking me around effortlessly.  Thankfully I was not hiking along a cliff otherwise the results could be disastrous.

Meanwhile, I was not the only one struggling.  Birds were having a tough time controlling their flight too.  Two swallows narrowly missed crashing into my head.  This would make quite an interesting story for the emergency room crew.  I can picture them in a break-room, “Remember the time this guy was wheeled into the hospital with two swallows impaled in his forehead?”  If I didn’t know better, I’d accuse the swallows of drunk flying.

Meanwhile, snot was doing a salmon run up one nostril and sliding across and taking off for ports unknown along the other cheek.  I had wisely tied the hat down but my clothes were flapping like renegade flags and the straps on my daypack were beating together like thunder.  I called my logistical support team, my wife at home, to check on the weather for me.  She reported that the forecast had not changed.

About an hour earlier, at 7:30 AM I began my hike in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. The temperature at the trailhead was 48 degrees but I hoped to warm up quickly as the trail climbed.  Based on the forecast, the morning would be cold but bearable, but conditions would get worse as the day progressed.  A quick early hike seemed plausible.

Unfortunately, the higher I climbed, the colder and windier it got.  Within minutes my eyes and nose started running and did not stop until I was safely back inside the car a few hours later.  The plan was to hike a total of 11 miles along the Diablo Trail.  This was going to be section 4 of 6 of the 30-odd mile long Diablo Trail.  I would begin on the Diablo Ridge Trail along Morgan Territory Road and head out 5.5 miles towards Old Finley Road and turn back at the intersection of Black Hills and Sulphur Spring trails.

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Hike 35 – Mining Green Diamonds Locally, April 3, 2010

Since spring was still in the air and the hills were all around the East Bay were still green, I decided to continue to hike in the area.  I may as well enjoy the local green for as long as it lasts.  It will be a matter of weeks before the hills start turning brown again.

This weekend I planned to hike in Black Diamond Mines, one of my favorite parks in the East Bay Regional Park District.  I have hiked here many times before including back on January 10th this year.  This time I was going to explore trails I had never covered before.  My goal was a 10.4 mile loop with about 1,900 feet of total climbing.

The weather forecast called for an overcast day which suited me fine.  The more moisture we get right now, better it is for the East Bay.  Soon the land and hills will be parched and we’ll have cloudless days for months, so we might as well enjoy these cloudy skies while we can.  Besides, Black Diamond Mines gets really hot in Summer, often around 120 degrees.  So this is generally the best time of the year to hike here.

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