Mount Diablo

Some of you may remember that Jack had a hard time behaving in school in January and February. To recap, he was acting out and hurting some of the other kids. I read several behavioral books (and I intend to review them here someday) and they all said the same thing: Classic response to stress. Our house was a shambles, we didn’t know when his baby sister would get here, he had just turned 5, he knew he was going to go to Kindergarten but not where he was going to go… that’s a lot for a little guy to wrap his head around. Of course, he needed to learn how to better express his anger, but there are a lot of adults who have trouble with that concept too. One of the incentives we’ve tried to help him behave better is the Behavior Points.

If he follows the three basic rules – No hurting someone physically. No teasing or insulting. Keep your body to yourself. – then he gets a Behavior Point. For every 10 points, he gets a special outing.

Jack actually got 10 Behavior Points a few weeks ago, and chose to go to Mount Diablo. We couldn’t go until today because we’ve had so many birthday parties to go to.

Jack invited Grandpa Bob to go, and Grandpa Bob accepted. He hadn’t been since I was a kid. I remember going to Mount Diabl0 5 times:

  • In Kindergarten, my parents picked me up from school and brought me to the top, where we had a picnic. (Jack asked if Ann was there. I said she must have been, because she was 3, and I don’t know what my parents would have done with her, but I didn’t remember her being there.)
  • When I was in 5th grade (or thereabouts), my Uncle Steve brought my sister and I up to see the snow. I couldn’t walk all the way to the top, so I stayed a ways down, building the world’s smallest snowman.
  • When I was in early high school, my Uncle Steve wanted to go for a drive up the mountain and take some pictures. (I think my sister was there for that too.)
  • When I was a senior in college, my friend Anna visited and expressed an interest in going to the top of the mountain. So, we did!
  • At some point, I brought Max to the top of the mountain. This was before we moved to New Hampshire. It wasn’t the Christmas he came to visit me in 1995, so it must have been when we were both living in Silicon Valley in the summer of 1997.

We drove in using the North Gate, went to the top, then drove over to Rock City and drove down through the South Gate. Jack had a blast! He was really happy to go. Twice, I said, “Isn’t nice that you got enough Behavior Points that we could all go do something fun together?” Yes, let’s remind the boy so positive reinforcement works!

The only problem we had is that Grandpa Bob’s definition of “safe” is nowhere near Mommy and Daddy’s definition of “safe”. So, we had to cut our visit to Rock City short. (No Dad, Jack can’t slide down a 12 foot rock. No Dad, you can’t lift Jack into a cave so that he can climb higher than anyone of us can climb.)

Finally, a few pictures…

Mt. Diablo Summit

A view from the summit, looking southwest. (I think. It’s looking back towards Pleasant Hill.)

Mt. Diablo Summit

A view from the summit looking towards Martinez. You can see the oil refinery, and the windmills in the distance.

Jack on top of Mt. Diablo

Jack standing on the top of Mount Diablo. They built the visitor’s center around the top of the mountain so that people can actually stand on the mountain top.

Mt. Diablo: The other side of the summit

On the western side of the mountain’s summit.

Mt. Diablo: Rock Quarry

We’re back on the eastern side of the summit. This is a closer-up shot of a rock quarry, and you can see all of the housing tracts. I think that’s Concord.

Mt. Diablo: Antioch Bridge

This is the Antioch Bridge. Jack and my Dad really wanted to see our specific house from the mountain. However, the observation deck on that side was closed due to severe leaking. We did see the Contra Loma Reservoir, a little.

Mt. Diablo: On top of the clouds

On the Danville side of the summit, most of the mountain was shrouded in clouds. Jack thought it was cool that we were higher than the clouds. I’d never been in such a position myself. I wish I had gotten some better pictures of it.

Mt. Diablo: Rock Manor

Jack decided that this part of the mountain was called “Rock Manor”. It was the start/end of a trail from the summit down the mountain. Jack and I both slid a bit and landed on our bums.

Mt. Diablo: More scenery from the summit

This is looking out from “Rock Manor”. Mount Diablo is just about 3500 feet tall, and they think it’s getting taller.

Mt. Diablo: Squirrel

I included this picture for several reasons.

  • First, my camera is very cool! You can see the squirrel’s whiskers!
  • Second, although I did use the Close-up macro, the squirrel really was pretty darn close to us. Less than 4 feet easy.
  • Third, it’s such a cute little squirrel!

Jack wanted to feed it peanuts. He had accidentally dropped a peanut and the squirrel came out of nowhere for it. Then, he sat and looked at us for awhile, inching ever closer, to see if we had more. Jack got a little afraid of what might happen.

Mt. Diablo: Grandpa & Jack in the Wind Caves

We decided to go over and down to Rock City, which includes all of these little caves formed by wind. Jack wanted to climb into the caves, but they were pretty high up. We convinced him to stick to the small, lower “caves” which are really just hollows in the rock.

Mt. Diablo: Jack-sized cave

I don’t have many pictures of Jack because he was running and climbing all over the place. This is from just before we left the mountain.


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