Sunday, January 29, 2012

Where eagles dare-redux

Almost five years ago Alice and I ventured up the slopes of Eagle Peak at Mount Diablo State park in what we though was one of the hardest hikes to be found.  Under a sweltering July sun, out of water we managed to finish our marathon trek up the mountain tired and beaten vowing never to return.  Some promises are just meant to be broken.

I had already made two return trips to Eagle Peak, one this past New Year's Eve using a different route.  Our original route had taken us along Coulter Pine Trail from the Mitchell staging area where we met up with Eagle Peak Trail for a steep climb to the top.  My two return trips previously had tried a new path following Mitchell Rock trail until it intercepts Eagle Peak Trail just past Twin Peaks on the way up.  But I was bound and determined for a return trip to our original hike trail to see if it was still as bad.

This morning's hike had me winding my way along Coulter Pine trail.  The views were familiar; a rusty water tower, rocks and pebbles covering the trail and seemingly endless trail winding up the slope.  Hiking poles in hand I started my ascent to see If I could duplicate our death march from five years ago.

Just over one and half hours into the hike I reached the Eagle Peak summit marker, I was on top.  Just about three miles of steep climbs, a few switch backs and painfully close encounter with a low hanging tree branch on the trail had brought me to the top in just about the same time and distance as my other two recent attempts.  What happened?  Where was the grueling death march I had remembered.  Near as I can figure on our original hike we must have had a failure to navigate.

On my reent hike up Eagle peak I noticed one thing different, signs, signs everwhere signs.  The powers that be on the mountain seemed to have put up more trail markers.  Also I noticed today a small rock wall had been built near turn in the trail to keep hikers from straying off the correct path.  I think maybe we took a turn on one of the many similar but wrong dirt and rock trails and got lost on that hike five years ago.  the new signage does a good job of guiding the hiker along the route to the top.

Today's hike measured out at around eight miles with a climb just over 2,300 feet as the trail winds up and down leading to and from the fire roads.  It still is a trip for the experienced hiker as this peak, no matter which route you take requires attention and focus on the trail.  One little slip up and your smacking tree limbs with your noggin or worse.

This turned out to be a good hike and one to keep for future use.  I have made three trips up the peak, two in one month so I will turn my attention to other trails on Diablo including the summit in the future.  Eagle Peak isn't the scary monster I thought it was but it's height and treacherous trail conditions make this a worthy climb for any hiker.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Slam fest

After a recent discussion about all the dunks going on at high school basketball games we decided to do a story on them.  I went through the last couple of games and came back with a pretty good assortment of the power moves to the rim.

Nothing gets the crowd going like an intimidating slam dunk.

 It is hard to shoot from the baseline but every now and then I get a shot that makes it worthwhile.

Something's afoot

I don't trust this dog.  That devious look on his face spells mistrust, lies and treachery.  That dog is hiding something behind that evil smirk, some dark secret, some guilty event eats away at its conscious.    It is waiting to strike with a vengeful fury on those that oppressed it.  Behind that facade lies a veil of animosity and a thirst for blood.  That look speaks volumes of its desire to purge the world of my existence.

Either that or it just took a piddle.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Above the rim

I've had the opportunity to see some pretty good dunks covering the different high school basketball games this year.  Last night's West High basketball game had this great dunk off a no look pass where the player hung on the rim for a few to admire his dunk.
It also featured this not so spectacular miss on the dunk with the ball bouncing back about a dozen feet.  Still a cool shot though.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New year, new hikes

With a new year of hikes ahead I headed out to Morgan Territory to to get back on the trail.  I was greeted with one of the coldest hikes I can remember.

Blowing fog and a cold wind whipped over the park as I headed out rom the staging area.  I was hiking solo today taking a short 6-mile loop and it was going to be a chilly time.

The lack of rain left the trail rock hard and it felt like I was hiking on cement.  The hills were brown instead of a lush green from winter rains.  Winds whipped the trails sending dirt and leaves everywhere.

I made my way along the trails shivering in the winds as it whipped across the grasslands and open spaces of the park's valley.  Clouds and layers of fog raced across the sky above me as the sunlight filtered through the gray mist to the trail.

Hopefully the rains will come this week and I can look forward to returning to the waterfalls sometime soon.  It was cold today but a good time back on the trail.