I went back to Contra Costa County for a second day, this time in the northern
part of the county around Franklin Ridge. The name is somewhat of a misnomer
as it's more complicated than the name suggests with convoluted folds and
togography and might just as easily have been called Franklin Hills. I did the
four summits with more than 300ft of prominence in this area along with one that
didn't qualify and another in Alameda County on my way home for a total of six.
There were no drive-ups like yesterday and a few of these were longer too, but
still none took more than about an hour and half, and most were much shorter.
There was an exciting stage 9 of the Tour de France that I was itching to get
back to watch in the afternoon, so these six would have to do for the day...
An easy hike up a good paved/gravel road on private ranch lands, less
than half a mile from Cummings Skyway where I parked. The top is crowned
by several cell and microwave towers which I walked around. The summit was
bulldozed for the towers, leaving nothing higher inside to make it worth trying
to breach the fence. I found a reference mark outside the fence but no
sign of the benchmark inside, where the reference
mark was pointing. The views overlooking the Carquinez Straight to the east
would be nice if the sun wasn't washing everything out at the moment.
I originally thought this was a ranked (more than 300ft of prominence) summit,
but later found it comes up short by about 50ft. The land is part of the EBRPD
land bank, not open to the public. Cummings Skyway was again the
starting point, just a short distance SE of the previous starting point.
The easy hike follows along ranch roads with a short cross-country stint at the
end through tall, brown grass.
Franklin Ridge North
Another short hike on private ranch property. The key is a gap in the
road maintenance yard fence that leads to the unused ranch road behind
it. A sign warns of video surveillance, but as with most of these I've seen over
the years, there was no camera in sight - a little black plastic box nailed to a
tree would make it more believable. The road going up is quite steep. At a
property boundary I went over a gate and then cross-country up to
the summit (with another ranch road running over it). This one was much
more protected from
observation than the previous two hikes for which I was more nervous. It was
not by chance that I picked these three to do first while it was still early.
This one is mostly on public trails. The Muir Land Trust bought
three ranches in the upper half of the route that are accessible through a
multi-use trail starting off Dutra Rd. Kims Horse Training is right
next door and it is obvious that the horses are the main users of the trail
system. The GPX track I got off PB along with the descriptions were helpful in
navigating the various
branches in the trails. Near the top, I followed a feeder trail to the boundary
of the Land Trust property, going through an unsigned, unlocked gate to a
residential area found around the highpoint. I did as others did, skirting the
edge of one property (still under construction, it seems) to find my way to
the flattish highpoint with decent views. This was the longest
of the day, about 2.5mi each way.
Another short hike, this one starting from the edge of a Martinez
residential neighborhood, climbing up a small, undeveloped hill on private
property. This one, too, has little chance of discovery, but my luck looked like
it had run out. Just as I was approaching the highpoint, a gentleman on
horseback about a hundred yards away spied me at the same time I saw him. I
decided to take my lumps and let him chew me out, so I soldiered on towards him
(and the highpoint, of course). He then abuptly turned his horse around and went
back the way he'd come. Maybe he didn't belong there either? Very strange.
Located in Alameda County on private ranch property, the shortest route up is
directly up from Norris Canyon Rd that runs below the south side. This has
multiple occupied properties that made me look for a less-exposed route. I
chose to start from the Thomas Ranch residential development about a mile and
a half to the northeast. I started by walking through a kids' park and
then into the rough grass and thistle ravine immediately behind it. I
eventually climbed out to a ranch road which I followed for about a
mile until below the summit on the east side. A straightforward cross-country
climb up grassy slopes got me to the summit. There is some chance of
being detected on this route with a home
on either side at some distance, but much less than the Norris Canyon Rd
Peak 695? Seriously, I think it's time for somebody to check into Peakbaggers Anonymous... I've regularly said I have low standards. It takes some folks awhile to realize just how low they are.Shane Smith comments
Lol- Peak 695 ft, Peakbaggers Anon and not even anywhere near in-denial status ....Love It! Too much fun....