Diablo Foothills and Sibley Volcanic

Diablo Foothills - 6/22/97

Pete Gomes led this hike along the Stage Road and Mount Diablo trails. Nine people took part including myself, Pete, Sandy, Phoebe, Fred, Alex, Hap, Pat and Darren. We walked as far as Pine Pond before turning around. There we had quite a long conversation with a park ranger and her crew of maintenance volunteers. We told them all about barefoot hiking. They seemed quite interested, positive, and asked lots of questions. One of the volunteers told us about a guy he knew in Bolinas who (purportedly) had not worn shoes for thirty years. Just before we reached Pine Pond there was a "controlled burn" area adjacent to the trail. We went off-trail for while to experience what it felt like to walk on the warm, black cinders. It felt crunchy, fine-grained. Pete described it as "like standing on 'Top Ramen Soup Noodles' ". We asked the ranger why they had done a burn there. She told us it was to kill off the Star Thistles (Yes!!).

On the way back, a mother and two small boys were coming the direction. "Look", she told them, "These people are hiking barefoot, I bet you'd like to try that". I asked her "Why not let them?". She said "Oh, I have a hard enough time keeping shoes on them as it is". Hmmm.

Sibley Volcanic - 7/13/97

Pete Gomes led this hike at Sibley. Thirteen people took part including myself, Pete, Phoebe, Fred, Alex, Hap, Pat, young Phoebe, Ron, April, Rhonnda, Jeff and Darren.

It was somewhat misty at our start time of 9:20am, but it soon warmed up. The main characteristic of this walk was that the trail was a lot rockier than ones we usually select. Some people had a tough time with this, others didn't care. I kind of enjoyed the stimulation of a good good sole workout. In any event, the pace was slower than usual. There are some strange looking landforms and canyons on this hike. At one point we took a side excursion the rocky top of small, conical hill. The view was good but somewhat obscured by the cluster of trees on the top. Next we rediscovered the "maze". This is where someone has built an elaborate maze of concentric circles and spirals from stones. After exploring the maze, we reentered the wooded area and climbed the metaled road up to "Round Top" ... an extinct volcanic plug. I have to tell you that the brochure promises "panoramic views" from the top and it's NOT true. There are a bunch of transmitters and associated buildings up there (all fenced off). The trees and these ugly buildings block any view. My advice is "don't bother". We sat in the shade and ate lunch. At least we had good company and interesting conversations.

-- Mike Berrow
-- East Bay Barefoot Hikers

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