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hiking at last!

Finally! Back from travelling, Sunday I got to go to one of my favorite places in the world, Mount Diablo State Park. About an hour’s drive from Santa Clara, Mount Diablo is an island in an urban sea. The mountain is nearly surrounded by towns and housing subdivisions, but the mountain itself and many of its foothills have been preserved in their natural state.

Joining me on the hike were Pete and Deb. We parked at the side of the road on one of the lower foothills, near the junction of several trails. We decided to try to reach a large rock outcropping we could see across the valley. It was a partly cloudy day, with big billowing cumulus clouds, and almost the perfect temperature, just around 70 degrees, and a nice breeze whenever we were out of the trees.

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We set out down the trail, which angled down along the side of the wooded valley toward the stream at the bottom. When we got to the bottom, we found that the winter rains had washed out the bridge across the stream. But being brave and hardy adventurers, and not a little bit foolish :-), we tightrope-walked across what was left, then headed up the trail on the other side.

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The trail up along the other side of the valley was mostly open meadow, and as we walked the clouds started to clear, so we started to get pretty warm. We found a large oak tree just behind the large rock outcropping that was our goal, and we decided that under its shade would be a great place to rest and picnic.

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But first, of course, I had to take a picture of my favorite sign of Bay Area spring: the California Poppy. :-)

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For lunch, I brought raisins, peanuts, and M&Ms (mmm, chocolate). Deb brought dried cherries and graham crackers. Pete brought his appetite! :-)

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Pete climbed up to the top of the rock to look back across the valley to see where we’d started from.

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On the way back, we saw turkey buzzards taking advantage of the warm day’s updrafts.

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The whole hike was probably about four miles, which is fine for my first walk in quite a while. Mostly, it was just nice to be back in one of my favorite places. During the drive back south to Santa Clara, we saw that the clouds were thicker and darker ahead of us. By the time we got home, it was raining pretty steadily. Looks like we lucked out on the nice weather on the mountain!

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