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Camping Mt. Diablo

August 21st, 2011 at 05:42 pm

{See last post for some older photos I finally got around to posting.}

With the likes of Tahoe and Yosemite in our backyard, it's probably no wonder we have NEVER heard of this gem before. We went camping on Mt. Diablo this weekend, and it was just amazing! (& a MUCH shorter drive - turned out to be about 80 miles from our home).

We met my dad for lunch around 1:00. We met at a fabulous and reasonably priced Thai restaurant. We feasted! I thought, "Where else can you eat authentic Thai cuisine, and drive 15 minutes into the wilderness for some amazing camping!" Maybe other places, but not many?

Our plan was to set up camp (check in 2:00), explore the famed "rock city," and drive up to the peak in the morning before we left, for the views.

Wildlife spotted: primarily deer, hawks, owls, coyotes (?), rabbits. Which isn't terribly exciting because these are the same animals we see at home. But, we saw the coyote a handful of times running around very close. Was beautiful. I suppose we also saw a lot of lizards. I didn't see any spiders bigger than a centimeter or so, so no complaints!!

"Rock City" was just amazing. BM loves to climb anything and everything. & though I held my breath a few times and had to chastise the kids to be more CAREFUL, they just had a BLAST. It was a huge rock playground. Just beautiful!

When we drove in we saw there was a star gazing event, and decided to go. (What luck!!!) Just BM and I went with Grandpa. We drove up to the top of the mountain and saw the most AMAZING sunset. We were above the fog rolling in, and arrived at a great scenic overlook just as the sun finished setting over the horizon.

At the top of the mountain, the night sky was pretty amazing for how early it was and how much light was coming up from the valley down below. If we had been up to staying longer, would have been even more amazing. The fog was starting to roll in (below us)and drown out the city lights when we left closer to 10pm. The moon was nowhere to be seen, and the sky couldn't have been more clear. We saw a handful of shooting stars. Basically, several people were there to show off and share their telescopes. IT was so much fun!!! We looked at several planets, galaxies, nebulae, stars, etc. I used to have a telescope, and love astronomy. We had actually planned this trip in the hopes of spotting the tail end of the recent meteor shower, but got much more than we had hoped for!

In the morning we hit rock city one more time to let the kids play, and then drove to the top. We stopped at the same scenic overlook again. Camp was very foggy and WET in the morning (got to test the water proofness of our tent - it passed. & it was so clear it would have been easy to leave off the water proof cover. It has sort of an open design for watching stars, etc. But for whatever reason we put the whole thing up. It felt like a little rain, when I Walked away from the trees, but was possibly just fog and condensation that hit our tent all night. My dad said the coastal redwoods get gallons of water from the fogs and he never quite understood that (until he slept under a tree in the fog!)

Anyway, so we drove up above the fog line and just soaked in the view for a LONG time. We decided to not drive to the very top of the peak since the observation tower was temporarily closed. I think we were happy with what we were able to see!

The peak was about 3500 feet - and probably the highest peak in the Bay Area. (I am not sure, but we saw several peaks in the distance that were quoted as being 2500 feet high - like Mt. Tam. I suppose we only got a view of the west, so not sure what else can be seen on the east side. Heck, to the east are the Sierra Nevadas. REAL mountains, but those are far off in the distance).

We let the kids play on the rocks some more before we drove home.

Throw this in the "vacation lifestyle" category because it was about on par with our last Hawaii vacation, but was mostly a 24 hour vacation! & certainly MUCH cheaper!!! We are definitely going back for a whole weekend next year. & is a good spot for day visits as well (when driving to/from visiting family).

Frugal note: We took gas sipper (compact vehicle). We were able to easily fit all of our camping gear (for 4), 4 camping chairs (clearly not necessary), etc. I share because most people look at us like we are crazy to try. Big Grin Of course, kids have short legs so not like there is any need for more space. I just find it funny how giant vehicles are seen as such *necessity* in this day and age - the minute you have one child. & yes, we have a minivan, but it is certainly not a necessity. Anyway, was for the best because we probably couldn't have parked at the campground otherwise - not a lot of room for cars. The gas sipper can squeeze in anywhere (& squeeze we did!)

3 Responses to “Camping Mt. Diablo”

  1. Looking Forward Says:

    I enjoyed your pics. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tightwad Kitty Says:

    Thanks for sharing your part of the world.

  3. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Awesome pics!

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