Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bay Area Beijing

With one hike left before I head out on my solo march up Mount Diablo it was time for nice tune up hike. With hiking partner Alice we headed to the northwest slopes of Mount Diablo for a trip to the China Wall.

Our hike would take us from Borges ranch in the Walnut Creek Open Space into the Mount Diablo State park. The trail is a hot one, virtually no shade and steep in spots. Grass land and dirt trails would lead us to a peculiar group of sandstone rocks aligned through the rolling hillside that if you squint real hard sort of looks like the Great Wall of China. Sort of, maybe.

We headed out along the trail sharing the way with bikers and equestrian traffic. Winding our way along the dirt paths we came up to the rock wall. Jutting up from the grass they form an almost perfect path across the hillside.

The sandstone had a deeper darker blue color a big change from the rock formations occupying the Rock City portion of the park. Jagged in spots and worn smooth in others they form a line stretching into the park. Different colors of lichen clung to the surface making for interesting close-ups. The rock contours against the sky were made for wide-angle lens views.

The hike was hot with no shade along the grasslands. There were the occasional live oak trees as they were forming their acorns in the summer months. After about 45 minutes we headed back to the trailhead catching glimpses of well-fed squirrels and the occasional eagle and hawk.

It was a great hike, just under 5 miles. The steep climbs were great practice for my upcoming solo trek and the Chin Wall was a worthy photo subject. My next hiking adventure will be a trek to the Mount Diablo summit in late August. Stay tuned for a report from the top.

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