Saturday, August 27, 2011

Black Diamond Mines

For the past month or so, we've been going out Saturday mornings to hike at the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch with the dogs (Andrew and Harper, if you have not met them before). I had never heard of it, but it got a great write-up in the Dog Lover's Companion to California and so off we went.

What a fabulous place! It's part of the always wonderful East Bay Regional Park District, but it has a couple of unique features.

For instance: a cemetery! So you know I'm going to love that.

The Rose Hill Cemetery was located halfway between two small mining towns and is the final resting place for miners and their families. Many of the graves were vandalized, but the Park District is working to restore them. Here's the headstone for a not-quite-3-year-old child.

Being a mining community, you will not be surprised to hear there are also mine shafts you can see in the park where people used to mine coal and silica. There's a tour of one of the mines which sounds pretty interesting. Despite how the picture looks, this shaft is safely barred off.

To get to either of these, however, involves climbing hills. Lots and lots of hills. The trails are terrific, but did I mention hills?

In this picture, you can sort of see the cemetery on the other hill waaaaay over on the other side. It's the part with the smattering of trees. You know how I was able to get this picture? Climbing hills, that's how.

The great thing is, once you get to the top, the views are magnificent. And you feel like you've really earned it.

I apologize for spoiling the view.

Harper, however, thinks the very best thing is the horse trough waiting at the base of the trail.

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