Sunday, July 10, 2011

Little Giant Loop - Mt Diablo SP

In the middle of May we went hiking in Mt Diablo SP with Anne and Sebastian. The four of us planned to hike together Little Giant loop for at least a year, but the weather kept on conspiring against us. I guess that was for the best as April/May should be the best months to hike Little Giant anyway - during that time Mt Diablo SP should bloom with wildflowers.

Indeed, there were a lot of wildflowers in the park, but still much less than what I'd have expected after the heavy rain season the Bay Area saw this year. Still, Anil and I enjoyed the hike a lot. Though I suspect it was mostly thanks to excellent companions and great weather, much less so due to wildflowers and views.

Little Giant is a 8.1 mile loop made by stitching together the following trails: Mitchell Canyon, Deer Flat, Meridian Ridge Fire Road, Muchio Gap and Back Trails. It is level for the first two miles, but then it starts climbing rapidly to finally top out at 2200ft (1600ft of elevation gain over 1.5 mile). At the top there is a nice picnic place and decent views of the East Bay, though not as great as the ones from the top of Mt Diablo. From there the trail is flattish for a short while, but then it starts descending even more steeply than it was climbing on the way up! We were definitely glad that we did not do this hike in the reverse direction.

Including a picnic break at the top it took us 4.5h to hike Little Giant, which was pretty decent taking into account the length and elevation change of the hike.

Fairy Lantern (Mount Diablo Globe Tulip) - a plant endemic to Mt Diablo, used by Native Californians as food, soap, glue and brushes:

Some other wildflowers:

Anne and Sebastian:

Views from the trail:

Would you rather fight Bruce Lee or be chased away by an angry armed American?