Did you know 2021 is Mt. Diablo’s 100th birthday? In 1921, it was just a few hundred acres of land you could reach by private toll round. Now, in 2021, it has grown into the 20,000-acre park we all get to enjoy today!
For thousands of years, the caretakers of the land were Native Americans who considered Mt. Diablo a sacred place. Of course, there were gold seekers and ranch owners who eventually forced Native Americans from the land but we are lucky that the park we have today is preserved and protected from development.
A few months ago, my son was visiting from the East Coast with his girlfriend and he wanted to show her where he grew up. We decided to head to Rock City to see the wind caves and the sentinel. Surprisingly, I had never been there before. After a few hours of hiking and adventures of rock climbing, we took a drive to the summit for 360-degree views of the Bay, Marin, and the Valley.
It was still a bit hazy with some leftover fire smoke, but you could see the tower of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance and the Salesforce Tower in downtown San Francisco. I had forgotten there was a beacon atop the Mt. Diablo tower to navigate night planes before electronic navigation. It now only lights up once a year, in remembrance of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. What a fascinating tidbit – keep your eyes peeled for the blinking light this December!
One other bonus of the fall atop Mt. Diablo is that October is mating season for tarantulas. Over the years, I’ve seen several tarantulas while hiking through Shell Ridge, but the Park Ranger said they seem to congregate at the Mitchell Canyon entrance area in Clayton. He also mentioned that mornings and evenings are the best time to see them. It’s quite a sight, but not for the arachnophobes out there.
All in all, we are lucky to live in such a gorgeous place, under the shadow of an amazing peak like Mt. Diablo. Here’s to 100 more years of exploring it!