Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Half-Mile From My Home and a FULL Mile Uphill, I Found THIS. . . .

Took a stroll today, over at John Muir National Historic Site, up Mt. Wanda (not exactly a mountain, at 640 feet, but probably the tallest hill I've ever climbed).  The climb isn't really very steep, but covers about one mile each way.  It was slippery and slightly muddy since we've had a lot of rain over this past weekend, but with the hiking poles that my daughter-in-law Jessica has loaned me I had an easier time than I would have otherwise had.

Here's the photos of the climb.  It was heavily wooded at the base of the hill, but as I climbed the number of trees became less and less. . .

The view all around me as I climbed got more unobstructed. . .

About halfway to the summit there was a picnic table, and beyond that only another two places to sit and rest or sit and enjoy the vista. . . .  at a juncture in the trails a bit farther along and at the summit.  I didn't take photos of the picnic table nor that first bench, since other hikers were there at the time.  Nearly all the hikers were solo, except for a Dad and his two kids and dog.

Near the top, hardly any trees. . . .  So the view across the horizon was spectacular.

And finally, nearing the very top, treeless - with views of Martinez city to the northeast, the Carquinez Strait and bridges off in that direction too, the Route 4 parkway winding thru the green hills to the northwest, Mt. Diablo to the southeast, and - far off in the distance directly to the east I was able to make out the shape of some very high snow-capped mountains (not able to see them in these pictures. . . Next time I go on this hike I will take my camera instead of cell phone - I think that'll make better photos of the stuff off in the distance) as well as - far off to the northeast of Suisun Bay - some of the hundreds of windmill-turbines of the electric-generating "farm" in Solano county.

Dunno if you can make-it-out, but the red brick building in the center of this next photo - at the point where the shrubs are parted in the middle - is the VA Hospital that's across the street from my apartment house:

I actually walked past the summit, just to see what was on the other side of it.  I had a good view of Mt. Diablo from below the summit, and of the mound that is the top of the summit.

If you look very closely, you'll see a structure at the top of this mound.  It is the bench that is at this, the summit:

I saw some nice purple sage off in the opposite direction from the summit:

Doubling-back to the trail that led to the summit, I arrived, but didn't sit down.  Just couldn't believe the spectacular scenery, so I attempted to take a panoramic photo of the entire 360 degrees around me by snapping about a dozen photos in a line-up.  It didn't come out too well.  Then I put the camera on "video" and slowly panned around the 360 degrees. . . .  but so far I haven't been able to figure out how to transfer it to this blog!  Next time, with a real camera maybe it'll work.  I'll bring some binoculars, too.

All-in-all, it was fun.  I listened to Buckwheat Zydeco on my Pandora on the way up and Frank Sinatra on my way down. . .  'cept for the last quarter-mile or so, when sis-in-law Liz phoned me and I chit-chatted with her about the goings-on back east.

Thank you, Mr. Muir, for your love of nature and thank you, National Park Service, for preserving his "backyard."  Next, I have to go see his house, at the base of the hill on the other side of the parkway and the railroad trestle, sometime soon.

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