Tuesday, June 24, 2008

High and dry

Feeling the need for a little outdoor excursion hiking partner Alice and I settled on a hike Monday in the bay area. Unfortunately our first hike choice was one of the many areas ablaze in northern California. We settled on trip instead to Mount Diablo’s Black Point trail.

Starting from the Mitchell Canyon staging area we would work our way up to 1,791 feet along White Canyon. The trail is rugged and narrow and spots but what caught out attention the most was the dryness.

Mitchell Canyon Creek running along Mitchell Canyon Road at the start of our hike was bone dry and the trail wasn’t much better. Poison oak was in abundance but was losing its green and sliding to a red shade. Grasses by the trailside were a parched yellow as the lack of rain was showing the mountain’s thirst.

Heading up higher on the trailer the lack of shade and fading breezes made for a tough time. The wildfires burning had cast a pall of smoke across the park and through the canyon.

We kept heading through the dry branches stretching into the trail and finally reached the black point trail. Every now and then we would spot a wildflower or two defiant against the dust and drought to push up along the trail.

It was a short hike at just over five miles but with the heat and smoke it made for tough times. All and all it was a good hike along some of the rugged terrain Mount Diablo has to offer. Hopefully a return hike to this trail in the future will find cooler times.

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