Diablo Reference Hike 2018

28 October 2018

random trip report

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(All photos by Q.)

I turned 63 last Friday (ack!), which means doing a "Mt. Diablo reference hike" to assess the nature and magnitude of my physical and mental decline. I invite my friend Q, who hasn't climbed Diablo before.

I meet Q in the Target parking lot in Walnut Creek and we drive to Clayton. This time I remember my hiking boots.

It's in the low 70s; normally comfortable, but on a sunny day, doing the steep slog up to Murchio Gap, with a pack covering my back, I sweat like a pig.

We rest briefly, then continue up the Bald Ridge trail, which is stunning as usual. But it looks to me like some of the oak trees are dried up and dying. Sigh.

Light tower at summit visible if you look carefully

Q sets a slow-ish but steady pace, which is fine with me. I didn't keep track, but I think we summited in 2:45 or so.

We take a small trail to the right just before Prospector Gap, leading to the steep short-cut trail to the summit.

The short-cut trail

Just before the summit we meet a woman and her teen-age nephew who started at the lower parking lot and are trying to reach the top. We exchange some friendly banter.

At the top it's cool and windy. I eat my left-over carnitas burrito from the Mission. A gust of wind grabs my plastic bag and blows it over the rail in about .1 seconds. Q doesn't eat anything the whole day; she's on some kind of diet.

We descend via the less-steep Summit Trail. My muscles feel good - neither stiff nor sore.

Halfway down the Bald Ridge trail - climbing up the knoll - the adductor muscles in my legs (i.e. inner thighs) cramp a little, and when I sit down they cramp a lot. This is concerning, but after drinking a half liter of water the cramps go away and don't return.

Waiting for cramps to go away; eating tortilla chips that came w/ the burrito

We reach Murchio Gap around 6, and the sun is going down. After some discussion, we decide to go down the fire trail (Meridian Ridge Road) instead of the Back Creek Trail. This is OK, but the loose dirt on the road causes a lot of slippage, and the road meanders around, adding some distance. The steep downhill causes some temporary pain in my right knee. The last mile is level and straight, and it's quite beautiful as the light fades away to night.

Injury report: none, other than the short-lived cramps and knee pain. The next day I have pleasant soreness in my feet, legs, and that bulgy little muscle on the side of my hip. No evidence of decline - yet.

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