Above the Clouds of Mount Diablo

When I started my adventures of hiking and exploring new hot sauces, creating a blog was the furthest thing from my mind.  Now that I’ve created a blog, I have this need to play catch up with previous expeditions, while documenting new experiences along the way.  Thank you, my readers, for joining me in this new chapter of my life!

Let’s go back to January. I was just getting into longer hikes and decided to take a woman I was dating on a hike up Mount Diablo in the East Bay of Northern California. I didn’t know the trail, and assumed it was just a simple hike to the top. I did a little research after my partner suggested it, and off we went on an early Sunday morning four and a half mile journey!

The approach to the trailhead was a beautiful, winding road up the mountain. As we climbed speedily in my car up the twisty roads (avoiding bikers and not scaring my co-pilot, of course), we broke through the cloud cover characteristic of the bay area. When we finally parked, the view was beautiful! The horizon looked like miles and miles of fluffy white pillows. I had never seen anything like it and knew I had found a gem.

Diablo Trailhead

The trail started out winding through campsites and seemed easy to lose, but once we saw the signs for Juniper Trail, we were comforted and set in stride. Both of us being inexperienced, we had to take our time.  The first half mile or so was a stroll down a narrow trail with shaded areas.  Once we crossed the road we drove up on, however, things got tough.

My partner had a heart condition, and I was relatively out of shape.  The second half of the ascent was a fire road mostly in direct sunlight.  I cheered my partner on, and the boy scouts on the trail were rooting for us as well.  I even offered to give my partner a piggy-back ride, but that didn’t work out so well :/ As morning grew on, we had to take more and more stops, which was fine by me, but somewhat unnerving.  I didn’t want the person I was hiking with to die on me, but I also selfishly wanted to reach the top to show her the beauty of nature and enjoy a special moment of achievement with her at the summit.

With my partner’s heart pounding, and my head pounding, we made the final steps to the summit.  It was littered by what I considered cheaters, people who drove up the road to the top just for a view.  They even had a gift shop looking building up there! Call me a purist, but we took pride in our climb.  Luckily, there were water fountains up there, so I was given a nice dose of gratitude for the urbanized mountaintop 🙂

Diablo Summit

The trip down the mountain was more my style.  Rugged, fast, single-track trails that were all downhill.  My partner followed my footsteps and we made it back in one piece, sharing life experiences with each other along the way.  There were a few slips, but the end result was worth it.  We both conquered a decent hike, enjoyed each other’s company, and got to know each other more.

Back at the car, we both generously applied Biofreeze® to help relieve our headaches and soreness. I was grateful for the relief that came and for the adrenaline pumping through my body.

To wrap up the adventure, we had lunch at a restaurant my buddy works at.  Of course I used hot sauce, but I was still in my Cholula days.  The awakening to fiery concoctions had not occurred yet.

I hope you enjoyed the journey at least half as much as we did!  I appreciate you reading and hope you remember to take a hike and spice up your life!

-Doug

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