During my time as a student at UC Berkeley, I had driven all around the state in search of fun and adventure. Death Valley, Whitney, Shasta etc. Unfortunately it wasn’t until my last few weeks living in Berkeley that I decided to start doing more local hikes.
This hike began literally out the front door (actually backdoor since I was living in a van at the time). I used to have this notion that the best hiking was far away from any road. The further the better. In fact I thought the beauty of a place could be measured in the amount of days to reach the nearest road. I hiked the Sierra High Route in 2017 reaching some of the most remote places in the state. We didn’t cross a road for 8.5 days, why would I ever do trips near roads I thought. I even had doubts about hiking the PCT due to the copious amount of road crossings.
Ironically, these far away places so far from roads, require far distances to be driven on roads to reach. Of course no objective measure exists to measure natural beauty, but I do still believe the High Sierra is more stunning then Mt. Diablo. All beauty is relative however, and I did not truly appreciate the beauty of the High Sierra until I walked 700 miles through the desert to get there.
The above is a long way of saying that although this particular trip differed from many of my previous ones in that it did not occur in a national park or wilderness area, I enjoyed it just as much or even more. Much of this enjoyment stemmed from my knowledge and connection to the area. I have hiked quite a lot around Berkeley, and stared up at Mt. Diablo my whole childhood. To tie them together, and then to go beyond into unexplored territory (for me) south into the great Diablo Range was a truly beautiful experience. After walking to the Diablo Range from Berkeley the day before, the Diablo Range felt more wild then even Alaska or the High Sierra.
One day I would like to make a trail from Mt. Diablo all the way south to the southern end of the range some 200 miles to the south.
The trip began with a climb up into the Berkeley Hills. From there we followed the ridge south to Redwood Regional Park, and then cut inland towards Danville. After a beautiful afternoon crossing remote EBMUD land, we arrived in Danville around nightfall. There is no legal camping in this area, but there are lots of oppurtunities for stealth camping. Luckily, by taking the Las Trampas to Mt. Diablo trail, only a mile or so of walking on roads or sidewalks is needed.
The next day Clax and Ari hiked off towards the summit of Mt. Diablo, well I continued off down into the Diablo Range. The hike through morgan territory and into the reservoir land was stunningly beautiful. Hills stretched out seemingly infinitely to my south. I walked along the rim of the massive central valley. Large birds of prey patrolled the skies. I felt like I was in a different world then the one I walked out of the day before. The next morning I found myself in Livermore, the town adjacent to my hometown. A bus and a BART ride and I was back in Berkeley.