This last weekend I went to Mount Diablo, locate din the East bay Area of San Francisco. It is accessible by a long winding road that is just lousy with bikers, Schwinn type of Bikers not Motorcycle bikers. Now mind you I am impressed that these people ride their bikes up the mountain, it is impressive, but there was lot of them. The majority of them were ok and some were helpful, but of course, the rotten ones stick in my mind so the road was lousy with bikers. We made it to the top and I climbed up to the summit. (Three sets of stairs I climbed, that is)
Mount Diablo is only 3,848 feet tall yet it boasts a spectacular view. On a clear day, the Sierra Nevada is plainly visible. Lassen Peak, 181 miles away, is occasionally visible. Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park is visible but Half Dome is hidden. Eight bridges are visible, from west to east; San Mateo; Bay; Golden Gate; San Rafael; Carquinez; Benicia; Antioch and Rio Vista. It is rumored that it is the best view in the United States. When I was there, it was a little overcast and fog obscured the Bay and it is bridges, but I swear I could see where I lived from the top
The name Mount Diablo has some controversy to it. Most people think that Mount means Mountain it does not. It means thicket. The thought is that the peak gets its name from the 1805 escape of several Chupcan Native Americans from the Spanish in a nearby willow thicket. The natives seemed to disappear, and the Spanish soldiers thus gave
the area the name “Monte del Diablo”, meaning “thicket of the devil”. Monte was misinterpreted to mean mountain or mount so it stuck
Mount Diablo has had other names. About 25 tribal groups lived in the East Bay countryside surrounding the mountain. Their members spoke three different languages: Ohlone, Bay Miwok, and Northern Valley Yokuts. The Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone from Mission San Jose and the East Bay area, called the mountain Tuyshtak, meaning “at the dawn of time”. Most of Mount Diablo, including its peak, was part of the home of the early Volvon (sometimes spelled Wolwon, Bolbon or Bolgon), a Bay Miwok-speaking tribe, and as early as 1811, the mountain was called (in Spanish) “Cerro Alto de los Bolbones” (High Point of the Volvon). The Nisenan of the Sacramento Valley called it Sukkú Jaman, or as Nisenan elder Dalbert Castro once explained, “the place where dogs came from in trade.”
In 2005, Arthur Mijares from the neighboring town of Oakley, petitioned the federal government to change the name of the mountain claiming it offended his Christian beliefs. He claimed that Diablo is a living person, and so is banned under federal law. He suggested renaming the mountain Mount Kawukum, and later, Mount Yahweh. Other suggestions by other
individuals included Mount Miwok and Mount Ohlone, after local Indian tribal names. Finally, he proposed Mount Reagan, but the board rejected it because a person must be deceased for five years to have a geographic landmark named after them. (When the suit was brought Ronald Reagan was still living)Eventually, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names rejected the petitions, saying there was no compelling reason to change the name. Therefore, it remains Mount Diablo.
An aerial navigation beacon, the Standard Diablo tower was erected by
Standard Oil at the summit in 1928. The 10-million-candlepower beacon became known as the “Eye of Diablo” and was visible for a hundred miles. Today it is not lit, as it is not needed, the exception being on December 7th. Every year the beacon is light in honor of those who fought and/or died in the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
I had a good day up there. Except for the earwigs. There must have been a bazillion bugs up there and most of them were earwigs. I did learn that earwigs can fly. Who knew that? Certainly not me. We ended up eating our sandwiches in the sun because of the earwigs; they seemed to prefer the shady areas. We let them have those areas, besides the sunny area had the views. I cannot wait to go back and hike some of the many trails.