For Bay Area hikers the “Everest By the Bay” challenge is a worthy goal. This list, put together by hiker and adventurer Dinesh Desai in 2002, comprises nine peaks and hikes with a total elevation gain of over 30,000 feet. Dinesh and his friends originally did the challenge in nine consecutive days, but most people now take as long as they need.

The Sizer loop in Henry W. Coe State Park is the steepest of the hikes, over 4000 vertical feet. I had done it once before a long time ago but missed the summit. This time I made it, as number 8 of the 9 peaks.

Springtime is the best time for Coe. Summer is unbearably hot. The park is huge and rugged, stretching the full width of the Diablo Range. But if you like hills (and wildflowers) it is the place to go to get (far) away from it all.