A mid January walk in Mount Diablo State Park on afternoon led me to Fossil Ridge, Artist Point and Wall Point, three hills I hadn’t visited before. Along the way, these grand old lichen-covered oaks silently the graced the hillside amid the greening forest floor.

One of the joys and surprises of my Peaks project is finding new and unexpected locations in my own back yard, in parks I have visited many times already. There’s an endless stream of surprises.

In this case, I’ve been working through a comprehensive list of all peaks in California, by county, thanks to John Kirk’s listsofjohn.com (see my ascents for Contra Costa