Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cali Adventures - Mount Diablo

After a long painful delay in Vancouver and a 2am arrival in Cali, Sarah, Sophie and I have arrived in sunny California. On our first day, we did one of my favorite California activities - driving to the top of Mount Diablo. As 3849' its the highest point in the Bay Area and from the summit you can see the Sierra Nevada peaks (Hi Gabe and Megan!). That 150-mile stretch is the second farthest distance you can see from anywhere in the world, shorter than only the view from the top of Kilimanjaro.
The drive up to the summit winds through rolling hills and oak trees, and we had to take it a little slowly so as not to make a certain nine-year-old in the back seat car sick. It was nice to take our time though, winding up the hairpin turns and rocky outcroppings. We stopped a couple of times along the way to take some shots and enjoy the view.
Mount Diablo was actually named based on a mistranslation from an old Spanish story. In 1805, a Spanish military expedition visited the area searching for a group of Native Americans who had run away from one of the local missions. They surrounded them in a thicket, but as night fell, all of the Native Americans were able to escape undetected. The military group called the thicket "Monte del Diablo" of "Thicket of the Devil." Later, English-speaking newcomers mistook the name "Monte" on the map for meaning mountain and thus the mountain became Mount Diablo.
Along the way up, we ran into a few Cultus Pines, which are one of the few indigenous species that only live on Mount Diablo.

Though it was quite mild and warm on the way up, the wind picked way up around the summit so we broke out the coats and braced ourselves against the wind to climb the tower to the observation post. It had rained recently and was clear so the view was incredibly clear. We could see  San Francisco, the extent of the bay, the Delta, Mount Tamalpais, and the Sierra Nevada range with the naked eye and Sophie got a few more details with a couple of quarters into the telescope.
A great start to vacation, up to Napa tomorrow to continue the tour! Happy holidays everyone.

1 comment:

  1. That looks stunning - one for the list :)

    How long will you be in the UK for? Drop me an email, I'm in London over the new year period...