When we returned to Oakley, we brought my cousin Jason along with us. Jason is the geek in the family–besides me, I mean. He’s a Mac fanboy who once did tech support for Earthlink (before they outsourced all those jobs). So he took to Stefan immediately, and when we moved here he offered to help Stefan set up his office.
The only problem with that idea was the distance between Pasadena and Oakley. So I suggested that Jason come back to Oakley in our car and then return home by train. It actually requires a train from Martinez (the San Joaquin) and then a bus from Bakersfield.
Since Jason likes walking and hiking and we hadn’t been there before, I proposed a visit to the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve over in Antioch. Before we started, a helpful park ranger talked to us about coal mining, sand mining, local snakes, and other interesting things. (Rattlesnakes are not unknown here, though we did not encounter any.)
During the just-post-rain green season, the hills actually put one in mind of Wales or Cornwall, and in fact many of the original miners were Welsh immigrants. I wonder what they made of the long, dry summers without a whisper of rain?
We didn’t actually get as far as the entrance to the mines (a wrong turn, I think), but got in a good hike. It was more than enough exercise for Stefan and me; Jason could probably have gone on for another few hours.
I’d like to go back and do the mine tour sometime. It seems like a good activity for older children, but probably not for anyone who has trouble walking. There was a nice article about the mines in the Brentwood Press on August 2nd, 2012.