-A good pair of leather hiking boots requires some time to break in. The fact that you wore them on a painful hike to the summit in August and on several dog walks and shopping trips since will not guarantee a pain-free hike if you wear them to climb Diablo, at least not in the final eight miles of the hike.
– On a winter day after a rain, you might be able to recognize Half Dome from the summit of Mount Diablo without binoculars, despite its location more than 130 miles away.
-When said visit to summit coincides, within a margin of error of 400 feet, with your marking 100,000 feet climbed during hikes in 2006, that fact and the soreness of your feet from the not-yet-broken-in boots combine with the view of gray Half Dome 130 miles east to produce a feeling of contentment that is really rather pleasant.
-On at least one occasion, a flock of more than 150 robins has flown twelve feet above a hiker resting supine alongside the Juniper Trail on Diablo’s west summit ridge.
-The Trader Joe’s trail mix that contains pineapples and cranberries mixed with nuts claims to provide 150 calories per serving, according to the nutritional information on the small bag of trail mix you’ve brought along.
-That same nutritional information panel tells you that the small bag contains 15 servings. You are suddenly no longer hungry.
-When you rest on your way up Mitchell Canyon, you will eventually notice that the manzanita across the road from you is blooming prettily. When you stop to air out your throbbing feet in Mitchell Canyon on your way down, you will eventually notice that the red-flowering currant across the road from you is blooming prettily. You reflect on how rarely you have stopped along this trail without finding some nearby thing worth looking at for some minutes. You dismiss the notion that the trail is replete with interesting things, deciding instead that you possess a secret super-power.
-On your way into the canyon at the beginning of your hike you eat your first miner’s lettuce leaf of the season. You reflect that you can do so safely because dogs are not allowed on the trail. The same reflection flits through your tired mind later when you assume the little dog prints in the mud belong ot the local coyote.
-Your hike marks 410 miles hiked in 2006, a record. It is your 14th successful summit attempt on Diablo in 2006, the 18th in your life. It is the 22nd time in 2006 you have at least made it to Deer Flat.
-There are two more hiking days left in 2006.