A warmer winter day invited Diablo's citizens out to play–cottontail bunnies darting across the trail, blue jays perched on high branches, and harmless insects in swarms. Even the flora were in a state of readiness for spring, with tiny shoots inching their way up and moss giving life to rocks.
The first 2.5 miles of steady elevation gain was rewarded by expansive views atop Eagle Peak (2,369 ft), and the remaining trails along the clockwise loop each has a distinctive flavor. The entrance to the Bald Ridge Trail was like a secret passage through tall shrubs. The Summit Trail afforded views of the Mt. Diablo Summit Museum (which houses the actual summit on its second floor and, more essentially, a water fountain). The picnic area along the Juniper Trail was vacant except for a single tangerine left on a picnic table, and the descent continued along Deer Flat Road and a more windy Mitchell Canyon Road. A few mud puddles and a fallen tree spiced up the last leg of the 13.6-mile journey. A perfect day to marvel and muse in solitude.