The Transfiguration

everything is sacred

Hike of the Day #2345

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Hike of the Day #2345

We made it out to the north peak of Mount Diablo today, a seven-hour hike that took us through so many scenes – I could barely believe they all lived on one mountain.

Our trek started on a broad path, a creek on one side and sparse grassy woods on the other. It made for a lovely country scene, and until now I never knew it could be found in California. We passed a fallen tree that bridged the space over the creek, and walked across it to find miner’s lettuce growing freely on the other side.

The slope started to increase in earnest, and as we walked we let off little dust clouds in our wake. A lot of our hike at Mount Saint Helena was like that, and the dry earth and scraggly plants framing the path made it feel like a desert road. We could see a quarry off in the distance, the mountain sliced open at grey right angles, as if we had directly mined pieces of skyscraper and then carried them off to build a city.

After taking a few wrong turns, we found our way onto a thinner path where the shrubbery formed a bower over our heads, and went on for quite a ways without being able to see much in any direction. I always like when I find myself on hikes like that – it feels like you’re about to step out into a faerie realm.

When the path opened again the world was a green rumpled blanket beneath us, the town below growing like moss at the base of the valley. Massive grey pine cones abounded here, their little spikes curled outwards, and Pearce and Drew sent a few tumbling down the slope – though they quickly caught on bits of grass.

The far side of the mountain was painted with long shadows of trees cast over silvered grass, and it was a beautiful thing to find after so much climbing.

We turned toward the sun and stepped off the path for a bit, climbing moss-covered boulders to take a direct route up. Leaving the path is perhaps not the best way to treat a park, so after some talking we decided not to do any more mountaineering, fun as it was.

The last stretch toward the peak was the steepest of all, and partly paved with fissured cement – it didn’t seem possible for anything to drive on it, and I didn’t understand how the materials for it had been laid down to begin with.

At the summit were a set of radio antennas, and the panoramic view was beautiful but not something easily photographed. The wind there was harsh and piercing, and occasionally came in great bursts that threatened to send us tumbling; we reveled a little in our victory, but had to leave quickly, before the chill left our bones too brittle for the descent.

We made another few wrong turns on the way down, but found our way to one of the wrinkles in the hill, where the path was wrapped in greenery. It took a series of sharp turns down a steep slope, and somehow we found ourselves doing a sort of impromptu parkour-hike; running and jumping our way down seemed much easier than taking the descent at a walk.

We are all worn out and our dogs are barking. It’s time to recover from the adventure.

der hölle rache kocht in meinem herzen
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Written by Umbrella Man

February 22, 2015 at 11:02 pm

Posted in friends, people, places

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. Favorite quote of the day:
    “My dogs and my knee-dogs are barking”
    –Anton

    Pearce Merritt

    February 23, 2015 at 8:41 am


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