Journey: 52 Hikes and more

Archive for the tag “East Bay Regional Park”

Hike 43 – With Clare and Bear, May 2, 2010

This was probably going to be my last hike for this project in the East Bay hills.  With rising temperatures and the hills turning brown, soon I might not enjoy hiking here.  That thought brought a temporary cloud of gloom.

I was however getting tired of seeing familiar landscapes and that had left me uninspired to take too many photographs.  The ones I was taking were similar to ones I had taken before.  A change would be good.

The good news was that soon I’d be hiking along the ocean, bay or in the city.  Besides, I only had nine more hikes to go for this project and then I could move on to other things.  My heart skipped like a pebble on a pond.

On most days, I would not bother with a short 5.7 mile hike.  But today was different because I was going to complete the Diablo Trail.  Excitedly, I pulled up at the trailhead for the Highland Trail in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve along the Morgan Territory road.  The time was shortly after 7:30 AM and the temperature was 46 degrees.

I figured it would take about two hours to complete this.  Total climb would be around 700 feet.  With such an early start, I would be home in no time and have the rest of the day to fritter away.  The first mile of the hike had some climbing to it but beyond that everything was going to be easy.

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Hike 42 – Conquering My Everest, May 1, 2010

This hike is going to be brutal.  I know it but I have to do it.  I’m doing everything I can too not feel too anxious.

The last time I was here on a hot summer afternoon, I had to give up and complete it a different time.  Today, I had to conquer this hill.  This time I had two strong allies on my side: experience, and better planning.

My goal was a modest 11.2 mile hike with about 1,850 feet of total climb.  The section I struggled with two years ago was a 1,000 foot climb in just over a mile.  It was a hot summer afternoon and I almost made it to the top before concluding it was best to turn around and live another day.  I completed the section from the opposite direction later.

At 7:10 AM, I pulled into the Round Valley Regional Preserve parking lot.  The temperature this early was a cool 56 degrees.  It looked like an awesome day to hike.  Conditions were windy and a little cold but those would only help me in my hike.  Out here, I’ll gladly take windy and cold over hot and stuffy conditions.

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Hike 39 – Nothing Like the Grand Canyon, April 18, 2010

My morning began with a cup of tea enjoyed leisurely.  After an evening hike the day before, I was determined to take it easy today.

The usual distractions including laziness, email and the internet kept me home longer than they should have.  But I was not complaining.  After weeks of hiking in cold conditions, I would finally be able to hike free of jackets, vests or fleeces.  Back to the joys of hiking unencumbered; just jeans and t-shirt.

Everything suggested that this would be a great day to hike.

Pulling into Marshall Drive in Walnut Creek, I silenced the engine and The Magnetic Fields song “Grand Canyon” faded out with it.

My plan was to tackle the beginning of the Diablo Trail.  This would be section one of six of the Diablo Trail for me.  A week back I had covered section four of the trail.  This section would be an easy out and back 11 mile roundtrip with total climb of 1,400 feet.  There was nothing grand or canyon-like about this hike.

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Hike 38 – Desolate Times in Pristine Climes, April 17, 2010

So where am I?  Where is the trail?

The sign said go left but there is only a canyon that way.  Am I supposed to jump or fly across it? Is there a bridge I’m missing?  Do I need special eyewear to see it?

This was a beautiful hike through near-virgin lands and had me thinking about Neil Young’s song “Natural Beauty”:

What a lucky man
To see the earth before it touched his hand
What an angry fool
To condemn…

Sure, I felt like that lucky man.  But dude, where’s my trail?  Can you spot it?

Where is the trail?

Turns out I was standing on it and looking straight at it.  Let me back up a bit first.

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