Monday, April 20, 2009

Mt. Diablo

Welcome to Mt. Diablo! This upthrust stands a proud 3849 feet in elevation practically all by itself, thereby providing spectacular views in all directions at its peak. And it's growing! every year, Mt. Diablo adds a whopping 0.118" to 0.197" to its height. Blame it on plate tectonics. This mountain is about thirty miles east of San Francisco. It's got many pleasant hiking paths, and a road that goes right up to the peak.

The name Mt. Diablo was actually due to a mistake. Back when the Spanish colonists dominated the region, they had given a name of "Monte del Diablo" to a thicket of woods nearby the mountain, with "monte" meaning woods or thicket. Probably due to the thicket's proximity to the mountain and a misunderstanding of the Spanish tongue by English speakers, we end up today with the mountain's name as what it is today.

The mountain was sacred to the native American Indians of the region; the Miwok and the Ohlone. According to their mythology, their ancient relatives were created on this mountain peak. The legend has a few variances, but essentially center around an anthropomorphic coyote deity forming men on the mountain.

Below is the roughly the same shot as with me above. It was very picturesque there.

There was a cool-looking shrub which grew in many places on the mountain. As you can see, it had gnarly reddish wood, often accompanied by whitish lichen.

Rugged sandstone outcroppings adorned the landscape, providing for some nice rock climbing. In the distance behind me is an outcropping equipped for novice rock climbing, including the addition of some safety railings and steps.

On my way to climb the rock, I snapped this shot of the rugged beauty.

I made it on top of the rock! In the lower right-hand corner of the shot, you can make out the shadow of one of the safety railings. I was impressed that they had managed to add this feature without really destroying the vista.

There were wonderful views to be had at almost every angle. Doesn't this just call you to a picnic lunch? :-)

Well, if it isn't my old friend Campanula exigua, a.k.a. pretty bluish purple flower.

This pleasant hike was along fossil ridge. I didn't see any fossils, but I still had a good time.

Finally, I'm at the top of Mt. Diablo itself. The view was quite impressive, and the visitor's center at the peak was crawling with earwigs! Sorry I didn't get a photo of that. :-(

And here I am at the peak with a view to the northwest. And here I go. See you next time!