I was on a roll, so I went back to Contra Costa County for a third straight day,
working through the list of 46 ranked summits found on LoJ. Today's collection
were grouped in the northwest corner of the county, most of them inland where
it got quite warm before the morning was half over. The last peak was the
highpoint of Point Richmond on the edge of the SF Bay, a much cooler and far
more picturesque affair. The peaks were found on a collection of EBMUD, EBRPD
and private lands, often mixed and sometimes confusing. Once again, the hikes
were short, but (mostly) sweet.
This is found on EBMUD property north of Briones Reservoir, accessed from
Hampton Rd, permit required. There is a fire road going over the summit but it
is gated closed to public use with the generic "Protected Watershed"
sign that basically means cattle grazing. There are two summits to Lawson Hill,
the official one to the east and what appears to be a slightly higher
one (by two feet) to the west, separated by a quarter mile. The fire
road goes over both summits. There is a nice view of Briones Reservoir
from the summit. I did this one first, starting before 6a since I had no permit
and was wandering off the permitted trails.
Abrott BM / Radach Hill
I had thought this was an all-legal summit, but it appears I didn't read the
descriptions on PB that accompanied the GPX track I grabbed. Starting from
the end of Patra Dr and going through the Kennedy Grove Recreation Area,
I followed the Sea Foam Trail up to the park boundary with what appears
to be EBMUD property with grazing cattle. A good ranch road connects
nearly to the summit with a last bit of steep climbing up grassy slopes on a
use trail. I failed to find the benchmark, but didn't look too hard. I checked
out both sides of the fence there, took a few pictures and headed back.
The park map I saw at the
beginning of the hike showed a Radach Hill, so I made a detour on the way back
to check it out. There is no trail going to the summit and there is a good
deal of poison oak strategically guarding access. Those who believe they are
immune to the stuff can take a more direct route, but the route I took from
the west appears to have the least amount to deal with. The summit is a nicely
under some oak trees. It would be swell with a picnic bench
and a nice use trail leading to it. Just to piss off anyone who thinks they've
already climbed everything in the area, I added this minor hill to PB, and
shortly to be found on LoJ, too.
One of only two completely legal hikes today, this one is found in the
Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve. No trespassing, no permit needed.
Like Lawson, it has two closely spaced summits. I visited both in a
small loop, part of which was easy cross-country going over the two tops. A
coyote on the trail darted off when it spotted me, leaving me little more than
its ears to catch on camera before it was over the hill and out of
Interesting one here, but private property. An exceedingly short hike under
oak forest cover with lots of poison oak to dance around, it leads
uphill from where I parked in a residential neighborhood. Marcus Sierra has a
track on PB which appears to stop short of the highpoint. What at first looks
to be a house at the top, turns out to be a large water tank with a
shingled roof. A tall wooden fence surrounds the property. The land under the
tank was hollowed out to hold the structure, but the highpoint appears
to be seen just right of the tank under some trees inside the fence. A
small breach in the fence might help one get over the other side.
Clement Guillaume has a nice GPX track available on PB that approaches from
Pinole Valley to the west of the summit. I ignored this, at my own peril, and
picked out a route from the north at the end of Refugio Valley Rd,
which appears to be the same route described by Andrew Kirmse. I thought this
was rather sucky. Most of the route takes advantage of the EBMUD trail
up to the summit, the problem being there is no legal access from Refugio Valley
though a dirt road runs right up to the property boundary. I ended following a
freshly rototilled break along the edge of the property, up against
the back of the neighborhood houses where small, bored and obnoxious dogs took
turns yapping their stupid heads off as I walked by. Up and over a
small hill with more freshly churned, loose dirt and I eventually landed on the
hard-pack ranch road that serves as the EBMUD trail. I went up to the top, found
a small benchmark, took a few photos and headed back. I
bypassed the loose dirt by
better following the EBMUD route. Ran into a woman in a white truck who didn't
seem bothered by my presence but I had to wait for her to check out
through three locked gates before exiting back to Refugio Valley Rd.
You can't help but think that "Nichols" was mispelled on this one. This was the
most popular of the bunch, not surprisingly. It's the highpoint of Kelly Beach
Park and Point Richmond, overlooking San Francisco Bay with fine views of San
Francisco, Angel Island, Oakland and a host of Bay Area sights when the
fog has burned off and appears to see high traffic. There is a large network of
trails with at least three directions from which the summit can be approached.
On a Monday morning there was ample parking on the west side where I
headed up. The summit is home to a small telecom tower along with
a view bench and a picnic table. The cool breeze
blowing off the bay was a welcome relief to the warmer temperatures earlier.
Today was a rest day on the Tour de France, so I had no DVR'd episode to watch
in the afternoon, but a nap would do nicely in its place. I had gotten up at
4a to avoid the Bay Area morning rush hour traffic and could use a few more
Marcus Sierra comments
Thanks Bob. Now someday I'll have to go back to PK 750 for the summit proper. I only got as far as the boundary fence....rookie mistake. I'd call the fence good enough on this one. It's kinda creepy around that neighborhood.