Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hiking the Summit Trail at Mt. Diablo

View from the trail

It had been more than a decade since I had visited Mt. Diablo so I was super excited when we decided to do a hike on Mt. Diablo. Our decision was to plan the hike sooner than later while the weather is still a bit on the cooler side. On the day of the hike, we started driving towards the summit of Mt. Diablo around 7 am from Hayward and got to the park entrance around 7:45 when the ranger was opening the gates. I was kind of glad we didn't arrive earlier as planned otherwise we would have just sat waiting (or roamed around the entrance area taking photos ;)) for the park to open.

Entrance to summit is another 10-15 min drive depending upon how fast you drive up. We were the first ones to arrive at the summit. Once there, we walked around the visitor center and checked out the roof promenade and the beacon tower, enjoying the view from almost 4000 ft height. It was picturesque from up there with the morning fog and clouds hugging the hills that surround the peak and golden rays of Sunlight kissing us all.

Summit Trail

We walked around for 5-10 min, used the restrooms and loaded our hiking bags with water and some snacks and headed down the mountain on the paved road. The map was showing the trail-head to be little away from the summit parking lot. After hiking around and getting lost for a few min (on Juniper trail) we finally found the Summit trail-head and started hiking down. It was pretty chilly even around 8:30 so I was glad we had layers on. Hiking down and pausing for a photo or few or refreshing our botany knowledge by checking out the exotic bushes and shrubs and hundreds of pine cones on and around the trail we eventually got to a picnic area after about two miles of hiking. We hung out at the picnic area for a while, had a snack and water and started heading up. By now it was around 10 and the sun was getting almost above our heads. Climbing up was a bit of challenge with the temperatures rising rapidly and we were happy to encounter the paved road by 11 am and get back to the summit around 11:15 and chilling a bit more in shade. We started heading back down the hill right afterwards. It was a beautiful drive down on a gorgeous sunny day.

Checking out the surroundings

If you're going, check out the maps and other info below. Also, start your hike early in the morning and take enough water with you. Not to forget a hat and sunblock.

Some useful links:

Hike date: Sunday, January 19th, 2014
Accompanied by: RP, AN, Nikon D5000

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Smartphone proving it's worth.. once more!

I think my smartphone has finally proven it's worth. Last week when I was playing tour guide to some relatives who were visiting the area. After walking around in China Town, we were walking back North on Stockton St in the city towards our car. Right after the tunnel, I ran into a woman in her 50s. She was trying to get to Market St, but didn't know which direction she was supposed to be going. She asked me whether it was towards the South from where we were at. I said yes and also confirmed using the phone and shared with her about how far it was. She seemed so happy that finally she knew her way to her destination. It felt like a blessing to have that smartphone on me that day. After a year of still getting used to (annoyed of) it, I think I'm liking it more than I did before. :)

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Hiking the Dish Trail at Stanford

This weekend's hike was at The Dish in Stanford, CA.

Hiking up the trail at The Dish @ Stanford

This was my first time hiking at the place so I had no idea what to expect except for the reviews I had read on yelp. It turned out to be a perfect combination of moderately strenuous hike and what I call a photographer's heaven (I think that was more because of being there earlier in the morning ;)). We got there around 7:40ish and waited for our friend to arrive. Once all were there, we started the hike around 8:05 am and got back to the parking area around 9:22 am. It's a 4-mile trail and initial 0.5 mile are the most strenuous. Rest of the trail is pretty leveled in terms of elevation change. It's a very beautiful trail and I hope I get to do it again around sunset time. Saturday morning was so thick with fog that I had a hard time seeing anything beyond 30 ft while I drove to Stanford only to realize that even the trail was covered in misty fog. The fog added so much more different kind of beauty to the trail. I got hollers from my buddies to keep up with the hike because I was getting too distracted by the scenery and was taking longer time shooting photos. ;)

Hikers, Morning silhouette

Right at the entrance we had read a warning that coyotes had been sighted around the trail area so we were hoping we'd run into one. Well, guess what! We did actually run into one. Poor thing look very frail, starved, and ugly. However, it was great to see wildlife and that made it just more exciting.

I think I went crazy with silhouettes that morning. I have never been so excited to shoot against the light as I was then. Wow! What incredible views were there at every step and every curve.

Trees on trail at sunrise

For a glimpse of the trail as my Nikon D5000 saw, click here -->

If you're going, check out these sites for good info about the trail and the Dish:

Hike date: Saturday, January 4th, 2014
Accompanied by: RP, VNP, Nikon D5000