Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mount Diablo State Park

Tuesday we drove to the summit of this mountain. As you can see from this picture it was a bit overcast.    This view was taken looking towards the west. On a clearer day we could have seen the Golden Gate Bridge. Looking towards the east we saw a very faint outline of the Sierra Nevada. Mount Diablo isn't all that high- only 3,849 feet. It is a sacred mountain to California Indians. It was considered the creation point for the Miwok people and genesis for other groups. In 1851 the mountaintop was selected as the starting point for a survey of public domain.Today the summit is still used to determine base and meridian lines for official land surveys. The mountain is surrounded by low rolling hills and broad flat valleys. Wednesday we returned to another area of the park to do some hiking.
We attempted at first just to hike across some of the meadowland but the path proved to be quite wet from the rain the night before. This area is Mitchell canyon.
We then chose another path which ran along a rushing mountain stream. We did see a fair amount of  spring wildflowers as buttercups, larkspur, wild  hyacinth and violets. There was also a blooming shrub, the golden aster which is quite pretty. The California poppy is also blooming now and can be seen in many places.
We noticed along our path some very large pine cones. They come from the coulter pine which produces the heaviest cones of  all the different pine trees.
The above picture is pretty typical of the Riparian woodland path which we hiked on. The different pine trees and the live oak with its bright green leaves add a splash of color to the landscape, but a lot of the other trees as maple, blue oak, California laurel and buckeye still are bare of their leaves. Wildlife is supposed to be abundant in this park, but all we saw were many ground squirrels. In talking to some other hikers we found out that there is another interesting part of this park to discover. That is Rock City, were there is located some large sandstone formations and small caves. Guess that will have to wait for our next return here, which will be quite a while as we are headed to the Nevada City area today.

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