We are lucky to live in the Bay Area because, among other perks, we are close to Mount Diablo - tarantula habitat. From late September to early November, male tarantula spiders leave their burrows in search of mates. Enthusiasts claim that the best place to observe the arachnids' amorous migration is hiking on the mountain's northern slopes, a few hours before sunset. I hope we're lucky and see a few of them out and about. You can read more about these fascinating creatures here: http://www.mdia.org/site/tarantulas-insects/tarantula-time
We will do a 4.8 mile partial loop up Mitchell Canyon and the summit of Black Point. It is a steep ascent, with about 1,300ft elevation gain. Please wear good hiking boots - it will be steep going up but also going down. We will take lots of breaks. Even if we don't see tarantulas, we'll still get a nice hike in. The panoramic views from Black Point are worth it. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather. Rain cancels the hike.
The loop will take us about 3.5 hours. We should be back at the cars around 6 pm, a little before sunset.
My hikes tend to be at a slower pace than most meetups so we can enjoy the scenery and the conversation. Fast-pace hikers are welcome to join and run ahead - all I ask is that you please wait at all trail intersections esp. if you're not familiar with the route.
Please bring 2L of water. Wear sturdy shoes, layers, and long pants to minimize exposure to poison oak. You may also want sunglasses/sunscreen/hat.
Restrooms are available at the trailhead.
No dogs on these trails :(
MEETING SPOT AND DIRECTIONS
We will meet at the Mitchell Canyon Visitors Center. From Hwy 24/I-680 in Walnut Creek, follow signs to Ygnacio Valley Road East. After 7.5 miles, turn right on Clayton Rd. and then right on Mitchell Canyon Rd. The Visitor Center is next to the parking lot at the end of the road. Parking is $6. Bring exact change (there is no attendant, you place the money in an envelope). Plan to get there 15 minutes early to park, use the restrooms, and then find the meeting spot.
To get more detailed directions, click on the link "Mitchell Canyon Visitors Center" under location at the top of the event description. A map with GPS coordinates will open up.
Please get directions ahead of time so you can be on time. Do not rely on your phone to navigate up there. I will not wait at the trailhead for more than a few minutes past the posted start time.
I will send everyone an email with my number a couple of days before the hike, but please try to be on time. My phone has spotty reception up there so you can try reaching me if you're running late, but I may not get your message.