Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Top of the mountain
Months ago I set a personal goal, a lofty one I thought that I would climb the rugged trails of Mount Diablo from bottom to top. It seemed like a distant thought that I might try such a hike but Monday afternoon standing on the summit building's observation deck after hours of hiking 3,400 feet to the top it sunk in. I made it.
The summers’ hikes had all led to this. This trek would be a grueling 15-mile round trip to the top of Mount Diablo that would take us just about 9 hours on the winding dusty trails to complete. With my digital camera and hopefully enough water to last the day I headed form the Mitchell Canyon staging area with hiking partner and fellow photographer Alice DeLaurier-O'Neil on our last hike of the year and what was going to be the hardest one yet.
Late fall colors were all around us on the trail from a pine cone buried in a sea of leaves to the pine trees seeming to glow in the light of the canyon. We wound our way up the canyon road through a series of switchbacks to Deer Flat. This would be the start of the hardest climb with little shade to guard us on the sun-baked dirt trail.
The afternoon found us nearing the summit as we reached the Juniper campground. This would the final push to the summit through the thick brambles and steep rocky trail to the lower summit and then eventually the top. I tried to document the climb as best as I could but I found myself short of air and shaky from the pace of the climb. I wasn’t even sure if any of the pictures would in focus.
I would make the final 300 feet or so to the summit by myself and as I cleared the last bit of brush on he trail I was greeted by the summit building. So many steps so many miles in the making and I was there.
I snapped some pictures of the views from the observation deck and then went into the visitors building where the official summit is located. Standing on the rock that marks the top of the mountain I took a picture of my feet on the rock to mark my climb.
It has been quite an adventure leading up to the climb. Now tired and sore from my biggest hike I am starting to think about which photo adventure will be next.