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107. Mt. Diablo (02/15/99)

Hikers (3): Peter, Steve, Wendell
Distance: 15 miles
Rating: 4 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Mt. Diablo State Park near Clayton

Write-up by Peter

I was pumped for my 100th hike. I would be the first person to get an INCH forest, so I chose a hike worthy of this milestone: Mt. Diablo, the highest point in the Bay Area.

Only two other brave souls -- Steve and Wendell -- showed up for the hike. I think everyone else was still "recovering" from Valentine's Day, or at least that was their excuse. It was a safe bet that these two guys were dateless the previous night (sorry, I couldn't resist a cheap shot -- BAM!).

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

We did our usual trail, starting in Mitchell Canyon, walking along the creek for a couple of miles, and then working our way up to Deer Flat. Naturally, Steve had been waiting for a while before I made it to the Flat, and he had to wait even longer for Wendell to show up. After a brief rest, we continued on. I could not wait to get to the top -- to find out why, read on -- and was determined to go the rest of the way without stopping.

Steve was setting a good pace, but I was able to keep within a respectable distance. I guess he was not pushing himself too hard. Looking back, I could not see Wendell, but I wasn't too worried about him getting lost. It's hard to do that at Mt. Diablo -- just look up, see the peak, and keep walking towards it.

We kept on going, past the picnic area, through the scrub brush, past the big microwave dishes, past the parking lot, through the little wooded area, and finally arrived at the summit. And now, time for the moment of truth. I sat down on a bench, took off my backpack, reached in, and pulled out a bottle of Sam Adams that I had carefully stashed away. Sweet, Sweet, Sammy -- Nectar Of The Gods!!! Here's to 100 INCH hikes! Aaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!

Esteban was grumbling that I didn't bring any for him, so I offered him a sip to keep him quiet (he didn't take it). The usual crowd of tourists that had driven to the top were giving us strange looks, but that was to be expected. I guess they figure everybody takes the bus. I just sat there and enjoyed the moment (and my sandwich). It was a nice, crisp winter's day and the view from the top was as good as it gets.

Eventually, Wendell showed up and began to prepare for his usual elaborate seven-course lunch. Knowing this was going to take a while, I went inside the museum in search of warmth. I emerged about 20 minutes later, brimming with historical and geological facts about the Devil Mountain, and ready to hit the trail.

We headed down towards the Prospector's Gap, and from there took the Eagle Peak trail over to the north face of the mountain. At this point we usually take one of the trails that leads down into Donner Canyon, but this time Steve took us on a different route that actually took us uphill (thanks!) before making us scramble down a steep downhill with mostly unmaintained trail. The highlight for me was seeing a large coyote running alongside the trail. I'm not kidding -- this thing was huge! I didn't even know they had coyotes here, but I guess they stay away from the more heavily travelled areas of the park.

Finally back at the car, I peeled off my hiking boots and reflected back on 100 hikes -- a plethora of bumps and bruises, a large dose of suffering, but a ton of great memories and I wouldn't hesitate one moment in doing it all over again. On to the next forest!

Highest point in Contra Costa county
Peter's 1st forest

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