Mt. Diablo

Every time I do something physically challenging, it makes me think of my Dad.

Dad -- Hiking the PCT

(FYI: if it's factually challenging, Mom's the one. In fact, we call her Moogle because when you need an answer, you just call her and she will know!). He used to drag us up and down mountains, to the ski slope on days where the snow was ripping your face off, and into other such situations where we thought we couldn't possibly succeed. I can't say I necessarily LOVED doing much of it, although I don't remember really hating it either (or did I? Dad/Mom? Did I whine a lot?)

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

However, I did love the sense of accomplishment, of pride, that you get when you do something difficult and live to tell the tale. I did love the view from the top, the one that I got to see because I had pushed myself to the limit (or past it sometimes) of my capabilities. I did love that feeling of strength that it brought.

And I guess that part stuck.

In two weeks, Broski and I (and possibly Dad and Moogle) will go to Mt. Shasta to once again see if we can conquer the high peak another time.

Shasta Summit 2009

For another training session (see the first couple here), Broski and I decided to run up to the summit of Mt. Diablo, the highest point in Contra Costa county, at 3,849 ft (source). We were aiming to do the "5 Peaks of Mt Diablo" which would be about 16 miles and 5,200 ft of total climb. The five peaks are Twin (1,733 ft), Eagle (2,369 ft), Diablo, North (3,557 ft) and Olympia (2,946 ft) (source). In that order.

You know how I always say how I went up and then down and then up and then down? Well this time...I went up. And up. And up. And up! In case you don't know, Contra Costa county is hot and Mt. Diablo is no exception. As my brother said, it's not called Diablo for nothing! We climbed and climbed and climbed and finally made it to Twin Peaks. Then it was up some more to Eagle.

Unfortunately, there was some down between Eagle and the main summit. You can see it there, right around mile 3. And it was HOT. After the problem I had with dehydration last time, I made sure to drink about 2 - 3 liters of water before we left, plus I ate breakfast AND a snack, plus I carried 3 liters on me. However, even with these precautions, I was pretty tired by the time we started heading downhill from Eagle Peak. In fact, I remember looking at the trail and at the elevation on my Garmin, knowing that I was going to have to do a lot of climbing due to this downhill, and thinking "S**T, I don't wanna!".

mt diablo
Broski on the down between Eagle Peak and the Summit.

I really wanted my sandwich. I had stuffed two of them in with my icy water in my hydration pack, as a sort of cooler system. I was craving that sandwich and some shade, but neither were in the cards just yet.

We make it to the summit, but it was a long, dusty, hot, shadeless, scratchy, poison oak filled 7.6 miles. It was one of those hikes (/runs) where you were trying to look out for snakes and not touch the poison oak and try not to twist your ankle on the rocks all at the same time.

Remember what I said about loving to see the view because I pushed myself? Well, ironically, the summit of Mt. Diablo is one you can drive to. So we made it to the top and it is filled with people, trying to find parking spaces, snapping obligatory photos and wearing white cutoff shorts and cute tank tops and flip flops.

We ate our still cold (and must I say, completely delicious) sandwich pretty quickly and then started to head back down. In fact, looking back now, I realize we did not even take an obligatory summit photo!

The trail went straight down. In four miles, we dropped almost 3,000 ft. It was hell on knees; welcome to Mt. Diablo. After about two miles of this, we decided to skip peak 4 and 5, not because we didn't want to hike up them, but because we didn't want to hike down them! We were tired of downhill already! So we took a shortcut and got the heck out of there.

mt diablo
Still fresh -- this was before peak #1

We finally got to the trailhead and drank some nice cold water and dreamed about ice cream (which I never got. Pity). So, I had plenty of water this time, but I still think that the heat really takes it out of me! I think I will go back to this mountain, as it is yet unconquered, but next time I will do it in January!

Total miles: 14
Total time:4:54
Total elevation gain: 4,300 ft

Well Dad, I think we are ready for Shasta. Who's in?

What gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride in yourself? What obstacle have you faced and beaten? Do you prefer mental or physical challenges?


  1. Nice run! Not getting a photo at the summit is something I would do too. I read a book about the PCT once, what a cool hike to do!

  2. Nice work!! That looks super intense so I am really impressed that you tackled it on a hot day! That is so cool that this is something you have been doing since you are little since it's something you dad loves to do. I know you are ready for Mt. Shasta!

    Passing the CFA always fills me with a HUGE sense of accomplishment (and relief). As does running a marathon, doing well in a client meeting, and navigating a city I've never been to on my own.

  3. I think that is so awesome that your dad built you into a person who loves these challenges! I dream of doing the PCT one of these days!

  4. Girlie I have to get on you again LOL. You should put where these place are located especially for people who visit your blog from another country. I live in Chicago and I think this is in Washington state, right? Sheila@The Frugal Exerciser

  5. Love the old photos! This one looks hot! We went hiking for the first time this summer the other day and I cannot imagine trying to run the trails like you do.

  6. This is such a great tale. I am jealous of your adventures in the CA mountains... so neat. And I hope you and your family have a great time at Shasta, again.

  7. This whole post made me cringe. HA. I think it's SO awesome you're doing this and want to climb Mt. Shasta. I just remember how much I hated climbing Pine Mountain in GA last year. And then breaking my ankle on the way down. I don't think you could ever get me to hike again! Haha.

  8. I LOVE your family. Your Dad sounds like quite the adventurer. Broski sounds like he's game for anything you throw at him and it looks like it's quite a lot you throw! :)

  9. Nice!!! There is nothing tastier than a good sandwich on a hike!
    I have family in Redding. We used to water ski at Shasta every summer! Good luck, wish I could join you!

  10. Good job! I would think it would be terribly annoying to get to the top and have all those people who rode in their cars be there. Lazy butts. :-)

  11. It sounds like you guys are ready for your next hike. Sometimes I think just knowing that I'm carrying something with me to eat/drink makes me hungry/thirsty. Hopefully it won't be as hot for your next hike!

  12. Lovely photos and tips like stuff for traveling and hiking in traveling hmm amazing ideas. i appreciate the effort. avail the services of safe sky parking at Gatwick Valet Parking by paying very affordable rates.


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