30 October 2018

Mount Konocti - Wright Peak

Mount Konocti County Park



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If Mount Saint Helena is special for having 1000 foot prominence, then Mount Konocti is twice as special with 2000 feet. Unfortunately, getting to the top is another road walk, but that doesn't change the view at the top. Also unfortunately, it turns out my 120V outlets in my little trailer don't run off the battery, so my camera battery is still dead and I must contend with splotchy pocket computer (for some reason known as a phone) photos. Trail parking and a picnic area are at the end of 3 miles of well graded dirt road and a map is posted just before the gate. There are a few named peaks on the mountain, but the very highest is Wright Peak, so that's what I'm going for.

auto gate at the start of hiking
The start of hiking. The gate prevents motorcycles and horse from proceeding. Dogs are also not allowed.

The road past the gate is nicely graded too and easy walking. The one bit of trail comes quickly. It skirts around the edge of a walnut orchard rather than wandering right past the house that goes with the orchard like the road does. Some steps at the end lead back up to the road to resume the gentle upward walk along it. Views are what you make of them. There is a bit of brush and trees in the way, but breaks in this are often.

Farming and Clear Lake
Looking over farms to Clear Lake, the lake of Lake County.

29 October 2018

Mount Saint Helena

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park


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Mount Saint Helena was on my radar long before seeing it as the highest mountain on the San Francisco Area Nifty Ninety peak list. It was my real desire when I came out and hiked Table Rock and that was renewed when I saw it has over 1000 feet prominence. From the top, if you want to get any higher, you've got to come down a thousand feet first. It sticks out a bit from the rest of the landscape. The largest parking is in the same huge dirt turnout available for Table Rock. There is also a little on the other side of the road. The trail climbs to a utility road and there is a little more parking at the bottom of that as well. The big lot has plenty of room, so I go for that and then have to cross the highway to start.

old picnic area with tables and random steps
The start of the trail includes a large picnic area with a few old steps going nowhere. There was a bit more here once. No dogs are allowed past the picnic area.

My camera battery is dead. It had a light shining as it sat under my pack on the way home last time. I didn't think it was for that long, but apparently I drained the battery. All pictures will have to be from my little pocket computer with something like a camera on it that likes to despeckle and sharpen and otherwise overdo the processing until the photograph is a series of flat color blotches. It should look okay at the level of a web page.

small madrone taking up the light that comes through the canopy
A small madrone takes advantage of a spot of light.

The trees are pine and similar in the more sheltered areas of the mountain, but madrones pop up as it gets less so and manzanita as it starts to bake. I put in a few geocaches to find along the way having forgotten how consistently way off trail they were on the way to Table Mountain. They are well off this time, too, but sometimes they actually bring me to something. The old roads around that are still faintly visible must be from mining, because that is what they take me to.

water flowing from a carved tunnel
Whatever was mined here before, it is water that comes out now. This is down a side trail off a bit of abandoned road.

24 October 2018

Madrone Trail, Las Trampas Ridge, and the Corduroy Hills

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness


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I finally noticed that the East Bay Regional Parks have a trails challenge on. In fact, this is the 25th trails challenge that they have done. They have descriptions for 20 trails in the park system and challenge folks to hike 5 of them or a marathon worth of miles. My original plan for Round Top closely resembled one of their moderate hikes and my loop around Wildcat surrounds one of their challenging hikes. They also have one for those hills I was glancing over at from Redwood that just happens to pass closely by three more of the San Francisco Bay Area Nifty Ninety peaks so I decided to try one as described. Well, as described with the addition of the tenth of a mile or so needed to actually get to the top of each peak along the way.

on the trail looking back at the cars
Ringtail Cat Trailhead only has a few spots. Perhaps there is some plan for an ADA approved trail because 1/4 of them are wheelchair accessible, which seems of dubious value as things are.

The trail is a little cool in the morning as it passes beside dry creek bed. I stop to ponder an old pump, then continue on. A junction offers a route to more parking or a shortcut for the loop, but my way is up. Up is a bit of work, but it comes with views, first through small windows past the trees, then bigger, and finally a few expanses. These really are the hills I was seeing in front of Diablo, so that Mount is part of the view rather clear view. A little mist is in the bottom of the valley, but it is burning off quickly.

framed foothills
A little bit of fall color visible in this larger window onto the Diablo Foothills.

stretching out from one end of Mount Diablo to the other
Mount Diablo and its long ridges.

This is another area where they have cows. I'm not certain what makes it a wilderness rather than park or preserve, but apparently cows can be a part of that. There are plenty of their fresh leavings to avoid on the fire roads and a few of them (actually, plenty of steers, too) to make their presence known.

grassy patches near the road ahead
Turning onto the Madrone Trail. I am fairly certain there are wild turkeys moving around on that far hill.

23 October 2018

Sobrante Ridge

Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve

Pinole Valley Park



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This is just a bit of afternoon wandering in the local park area. I can climb up a little from the end of Silver Belt Drive to get onto the Manzanita Loop Trail, or I can take a fire road just short of the last house to get over to a slightly more official entry point. That point has brochures including area maps below informational signs. In comparison to a sign marking the boundary, it might be a lot more official. The two trails join quickly and then connect with the Sobrante Ridge Trail. This is another part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. I head north on it, soon coming to some picnic tables with a view of the bay.

bay view over a couple tables
Ready for a picnic above the cities and the bay. Mount Tamalpais is viewable off to the left just a few steps from the tables.

Past the tables, there is an intersection and the ridge route swings out toward Mount Diablo. Mount Tamalpais is also a murky bump to be seen toward the afternoon sun. I follow it as it until approaching another neighborhood. There is a trail off to the side into East Bay Municipal Utility District land, but I have not got a permit for that yet.

grassy ridge with a Diablo bump at the end
The grassy ridge ahead as it turns east with little Mount Diablo bumps easily seen in the distance.