Doolan 2 BM P300
Peak 1,128ft P300

Wed, May 18, 2016
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Doolan Canyon Preserve Doolan Canyon Regional Preserve is a single square-mile parcel of land in Alameda County, in the foothills of the Diablo Range east of Dublin. Managed by the East Bay Regional Park District, the preserve is not currently open to the public, continuing for the time being in its historic use to graze cattle. There is a small man-made lake in the center of the preserve, fed by the seasonal Doolan Creek, with two ranked summits within the preserve boundary on either side of the canyon and another just outside to the north. Despite a forecasted 86F, I decided to pay the area a visit for a few hours. As Spring draws to a close, the Diablo Range is quickly losing the vivid green mantle that it had worn for more than five months, and I was hoping it might still prove inviting.

I pulled up to the gated entrance to the preserve at the end of paved Doolan Rd not long before 9:30a and it was already quite warm. I was quickly revising my original plan, thinking maybe two peaks would suffice instead of the full circuit to all three. A good ranch road goes north through the preserve along the west side of Doolan Creek. There are no roads or trails of any sort going to either summit and I quickly learned that the more inviting green grasses were in short supply. In browning, the hills had become weaponized, essentially a vast sea of grass stalks armed with detachable stickers and thistles, aiming to expand territory by attaching to the various mammals roaming these hills, myself included. I'd been pushing my luck on the last few outings, but the Diablo Range was officially no fun anymore.

After hopping the gate I walked north along the road a short distance before crossing the creek and starting up one of the steep ridgelines heading east up towards Doolan 2 BM. The greenest stuff I found on the slopes were on the northern aspects and upon closer inspection found it to be clumps of poison oak in small bush-like formations. These did nothing to increase the appeal of the hike. I spent about 25min climbing to the highpoint of the short ridgeline, having little luck in finding the benchmark in the tall grass. I paused to remove stickers from my socks and put on some gaiters which would have marginal effect. Looking around, the summit provides views south across the Livermore Valley west towards Dublin and San Ramon, north towards Mt. Diablo and east across more rolling hills with Brushy Peak in the background. Rather than walk the connecting ridgeline to Peak 1,260ft to the north (only about a mile, but trailless) I decided here to cut the outing short. I was already sweating up a storm as the temperature was climbing past 80F even though it wasn't yet 10a. I dropped west off the summit down another subsidiary ridge, descending to Doolan Creek and the road. Though the creek appears dry, there must be some trickle of water still flowing just under the surface to feed the reeds and flowers growing healthily here in contrast to the drier slopes. I continued west up the opposite bank, climbing steeply to Peak 1,128ft (more sweat, ugh-ness and sticker re-distribution). It was warmer yet when I reached the top around 10:20a - it was easy to admit I wasn't having much fun with this one. I took a few more photos before heading down the south side ridge. Back at the car I spent 15-20min pulling stickers out of my boots, socks, pants and gaiters - what a mess. I left a small pile of the buggers underfoot before putting on my sneakers and driving off. Might be time to start looking further afield for higher elevations...

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