Monday, May 23, 2011

Last sights of spring

With all of the recent rain Alice and I decided to take a chance and head to Mount Diablo and take a hike to Donner Falls before summer weather sets in and clears us off the mountain.

Donner Falls is usually a hike to make in winter just after a good rainfall.  Donner Creek meanders along the trail and it can make for some good photos.  Heading out we knew this late in the season there would be a good chance there would be no water in the falls but we headed to the Regency Drive gate for a start through the canyon.

At the start of the hike there was certainly a good amount of water coursing through the creek.  We headed out and at the junction for Middle Trail we began our ascent up the canyon walls.  We could hear the sound of water around us as he made our way along the trail studded with the last wildflowers of the season.

Monkey heads, poppies, Chinese lanterns and even a thistle provided bright color along the trail and hillside that is slowly succumbing to the heat as the grasses fade to a golden hue.  The waterfalls along the trail were barely a trickle as storm debris and rockslides looked to have choked off most of the flow.

We made our loop passing slate walls along the cliff face and cool groves of manzanita.  Aside from a minor disappointment in the amount of water and two encounters with rattlesnakes it was wonderful hike filled with last vestiges of color on the mountain.  Soon the colors will wither in the summer heat and Diablo will become too hot for pleasant day hikes.

This might be the last hike on Mount Diablo until the cool breezes of fall greet us on the trail.  Alice and I will shift our hikes to the cooler trails of the coastal area as the summer months broil the valley.  Our last glimpse of the sights of spring were great as we head into the summer hiking season.

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