Return to Black Diamond Mines - April 2021

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Black Diamond Mines is one of my favorite parks in the East Bay Regional Park District system, the largest park district in the Country, excepting State Parks or National Parks.  The EBRPD administers 80 separate parks.  

There is something appealing about the terrain at Black Diamond which I can't quite articulate. 

Some of us walked here last December, and, afterwards Rich and I emailed about returning to see some wildflowers, but it was not to be....the winter 2020-21 storm season here was nearly a non-event, and the hills luxuriated in late winter's emerald green only for a brief time, so on today's hike we saw almost no wildflowers.  

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

Stewartville Trail in the distance, see note 1 fourteen hikers & an Australian Shepherd minimalist terrain and subjects  
  view at the ridge Raj is retiring soon Kim, John, &  Pepper
taken by Surjit view of Mt. Diablo from Ridge Trail Miner's Trail  
  on Miner's Trail   Central Mine tailings
stock certificate worth $150k in 1871 dollars workers at the mine        

note 1 - this is an image of the Stewartville Trail, from left to right heading uphill. The main parking lot can't be seen but is towards the lower left corner of the photo. This image was taken in on Dec.26, 2020, from Rose Hill Cemetery.

We stopped for a brief lunch near the old Stewartville Townsite, sitting at tables under three huge olive trees, and there was a cool breeze passing through. 

big Oak Olive trees

We resumed walking on the Stewartville Trail for a short distance, before turning left and encountering a long & steep uphill slog, on the Corcoran Mine Trail.  

  Oaks  

Once back at the ridge we met up again with the Stewartville Trail, taking it back down a gradual grade, to the trailhead. 

trail walkers' world almost back  

We walked almost five miles with about 1,400 ft. of gain. 

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Postscript - After the walk Rich sent an email stating that the wildflowers we encountered were Harvest Brodiaea, Yarrow, and a handful of flowering Black Locust trees.  I missed seeing those few flowers but was glad and surprised to see Black Locust trees here.  They are native to the mid-Atlantic states and my parent's home in Wilmington, Delaware (when I was 12 to 19) had about 20 Black Locust trees in the back yard.  

The flowers cascade like wisteria, and, add a subtle and sweet aroma to late spring air. 

They are definitely not native to California, so how did they get here? The Park Brochure states that Welsh Miners planted them, but, they are also not native to the UK. How did Welsh miners come to want to plant this tree here ?  It's a horticultural mystery....

web photo of Black Locust tree flowers back yard Yarrow, taken the morning after the hike

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