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Veteran's Day Hike on Mount Wanda in Honor of the Heroes of Port Chicago

Hey Outdoor Afros-

We hope you'll join us for a hike on the Veterans Day Holiday as we remember the Heroes of the Port Chicago explosion. We will do this hike RAIN OR SHINE!

The hike will be 2.33 miles round trip with a total of 600 feet elevation gain. 

The entrance gate for the Mt. Wanda Area is located by the Park & Ride lot on Franklin Canyon Road and Alhambra Ave. The first ½ mile has a 400 foot elevation gain to the nature trail, and then one mile to the top. We will be taking a leisurely pace, with plenty of stops.  Depending on the group size, we anticipate that the duration of the hike will be a little over an hour.On the way up, we'll be treated to beautiful views of the fall foliage.


During World War II, Port Chicago was a segregated naval munitions base on the outer shores of San Francisco Bay. Black seamen were required to load ammunition onto ships bound for the South Pacific under the watch of their white officers—an incredibly dangerous and physically challenging task.

On July 17, 1944, an explosion rocked the base, killing 320 men—202 of whom were black ammunition loaders. In the ensuing weeks, white officers were given leave time and commended for heroic efforts, whereas 328 of the surviving black enlistees were sent to load ammunition on another ship. When they refused, fifty men were singled out and charged—and convicted—of mutiny. It was the largest mutiny trial in U.S. naval history.

If you’re interested in doing some pre-hike homework, check out the following links:

10 minute video on Port Chicago

20 minute story on This American Life

While on the hike we will be stopping along the way to share stories and learn more about the bravery and challenges of the 328 African American seamen of 1944 Port Chicago.

The Port Chicago National Memorial is currently closed to the public, and this hike will not include a tour of the base. However, on a clear day, you can view Port Chicago from the top of Mount Wanda. We're planning a program that will include learning about Port Chicago on the way up Mt. Wanda and viewing the naval base from the summit.

Also, Mount Wanda is located near the John Muir National Historic site, interested Afros can stick around and take a tour of John Muir’s house at 2 pm.

Please wear good walking shoes and comfortable clothes. I’d recommend a rain jacket/windbreaker and a sweatshirt/fleece.Bring your own drinking water and trail snacks.

Dogs are permitted, but must stay on leash.


Carpooling is encouraged! The parking lot at the base of Mt. Wanda is small. Overflow parking will be at the John Muir National Historic site at 4202 Alhambra Ave Martinez, CA 94553.

Please bring a signed copy of the Outdoor Afro waiver: 

Hope to see you there!

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  • Robin J. D.

    Great outting mixed with physical activity, history, and excellent company. I look forward to the next excursion.

    1 · November 12, 2013

  • Otis

    Another Great Event!!

    November 12, 2013

  • Rue M.

    Great job Zoe! I am sore! Loved meeting everyone!

    November 11, 2013

  • Alicia w.

    Excellent! usual. Another great hike and awesome history lesson. Zoe thanks so much for coordinating this event. A great way to honor our veterans, especially our African American veterans!

    2 · November 11, 2013

  • Clay

    Well Zoe, you just had to go and make this into a super educational hike, with cultural relevance, a little challenge, audience inclusion and plenty of smiles…. I hope your happy (cause I am):)

    2 · November 11, 2013

  • Wendy

    This was a gentle, envigorating hike, not too long.The company was great.

    2 · November 11, 2013

  • Rory

    Another great hike paired with a history lesson.

    2 · November 11, 2013

  • Omar E.

    Sorry, my doctor appointment was rescheduled so now i won't be able to make it

    November 11, 2013

  • Sharina

    Sadly, not able to make it.

    November 9, 2013

  • Zoë P.

    So glad there is such strong interest in this hike! Since we now have large wait list, please be sure to update your RSVP if you're plans have changed. Please do not "No Show" for this event.

    Also, please note that this hike is RAIN or SHINE. If you are not interested in hiking in the rain, kindly check the weather forecast 48 hours in advance and adjust your RSVP accordingly.

    Thanks everyone!

    November 6, 2013

  • raphael a.

    I really enjoyed this event last year and am so glad you're offering it again! As Melvin said--a moving mix of serious history and the great outdoors.

    3 · November 6, 2013

  • Sandra G

    This sounds wonderful. I have so much to learn about history.

    1 · November 3, 2013

  • Adeke

    You don't have to drive far for once Teresa!!!

    November 2, 2013

    • Teresa B.

      Adeke....yep. My little city.

      November 2, 2013

  • Melvin

    I'm looking forward to this hike. It's not just another hike for me. It's also a good opportunity to reflect on a part of history that's not often talked about.

    1 · November 2, 2013

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