Diablo Magazine June 2016 : Page 29

summer fun >> Climb Your Local Mountain b y katie Henr y My husband and I love to explore nature, and we are of the opinion that if we don’t break an intense sweat, there’s no point in doing it. One recent morning, my gaze fell upon Mount Diablo looming above the valley, and I decided it was the day to conquer our backyard Everest. With our trusty Mount Diablo map in hand, we started our 7.5–mile trek at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center in Clayton. As we set out on the trail, the fog settled around us, making us feel like we were miles away from civilization. The incline was barely noticeable, and soon we found ourselves above the fog, tucked away in the valleys of the mountain’s rugged northern side. 2. Our next trail junction led to the most challenging portion of the hike: We had reached the bottom of the famously steep Prospectors Gap, which ascends 826 feet in less than one mile of trail. When we finally reached the top, sweaty and legs shaking, the view was our reward. Ahead of us, the Livermore Valley; behind us, the Delta; to our left, North Peak; and to our right, the summit. With only a mile and a half to go, and with the hardest part over, we continued. The trail snaked along the side of the moun-tain and showcased the dramatic burn area from the fires of 2013. Pops of wildflowers and small buds on the burned branches showed life returning to the area scarred by the mountain’s largest wildfire in decades. Soon, we crossed the road for the last quarter mile and met our ride, who we’d scheduled to shuttle us back to our car. We had made it: We cheered and smiled at the people taking in the spectacular view. One onlooker asked why we were so excited. “We just hiked from the bottom,” my husband said. “Really?” replied the onlooker. “Now, that’s an accomplishment.” Save Mount Diablo’s map is available at savemountdiablo.org. OppOsite page: Martin sundberg. this page: scOtt hein Diablo 29

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