|Trailhead||Del Valle Visitor Center|
According to literature, a “single rose is, in essence, a symbol of completion, of consummate achievement and perfection.” And so this was my last hike of the six. Yes, this is another big climb right out of the gate. 2,000 feet of climbing in the first 3 ½ miles will warm you up nicely. But you’re not done, the next 2 miles are going to add another 1,100 feet. But don’t worry, that only leaves 1,800 feet for the remaining 13 ½ miles of your trip, rounding it out to just under 5,000 ft. Piece of cake, right? Actually, despite the 8 ½ hours on the trail, it’s not terrible. Granted, this was one tough hike to do in a single day. However, the scenery, and trail change enough times to break up the monotony and help the time go by pretty well. At the time of my hike the leaves were falling to the ground, but there has been no rain yet, so everything was incredibly dry. It would be a great trip to do in the spring when the streams are running and the hills are green.
Once you reach the top, you’re likely to have a picnic table all to yourself. There is plenty of room to picnic on the ground if not. From here you might want to look around at some of the other peaks on the list, and some not on the list. The observatory is pretty noticeable in the distance. Don’t get lost in the view though – you still have a long way back to the start. (Pay attention to where you park and if a gate will be closing, or not. I parked near the visitor center and had to hustle to make it back just 15 minutes before I would have been locked in for the night. Next time I will park outside the gate and save myself the worry.)
Top sum up, I would have to say that this is my #2 out of the six, Mt Tam being #1. (How can you compete with an ocean start/finish and redwoods?) It is remote enough to forget most of the outside world for a day (except for the constant jets streaming overhead.) But close enough to society that you can still get a burger at In & Out on your drive home.
Some suggestions on your way out: There are several wineries in the Livermore Valley worth checking out. If wine isn’t your speed, try Shadow Puppet Brewing Company just off of First St, near 580. I discovered them on my way home from Mission Peak and have made a point to stop after 4 of the peaks on the list. (It is, of course, only a little out of my way back to Brentwood, and they sell bottles, or crowlers of all of their beers.) The best thing to do though, if you can time it right, is bring yourself a picnic, drive up to the top of the hill on your way out and enjoy the sun setting over the hilltops. I wouldn’t rush either, on a clear night the stars are bountiful from here. It’s makes for an incredible end of your journey. In my case, it was the last of the Six, so it was especially rewarding.
Cheers all – Happy Hiking…