The Beginning of a New Expedition

Seth Adams and Joseph Belli exploring Panoche Valley. Photo by Seth Adams.

When Save Mount Diablo started to publicize the Diablo Range with a Bay Nature magazine article in fall 2019, Bay Nature suggested looking for the “John Muir” of the Diablo Range to write about it. There are lots of experts about parts of the range, about Mount Diablo, or Henry Coe, or Pinnacles, but no experts of the entire range.

Seth Adams, Save Mount Diablo Land Conservation Director, suggested that they needed a William Brewer of the Diablo Range. Brewer helped lead the California Geological Survey in the 1860s, and his journals were collected as Up and Down California describing the survey’s exploration of the state.

In search of the Brewer of the Diablo Range, Seth came across Joseph Belli.

Belli, author of The Diablo Diary, eats, breathes, and sleeps the Diablo Range and its wildlife. He has walked a thousand miles in Henry Coe State Park over seven years to survey all the ponds for red-legged frogs and other amphibians, sampled watersheds for western pond turtles, snipped the tails of spiny lizards for DNA sampling, and spent thousands of hours tracking reintroduced California condors around Pinnacles.

When Adams suggested to Belli, “Show me around. Let’s do a trip a month exploring the range and looking for unusual wildlife,” Up and Down the Diablo Range was born.

Up and Down the Diablo Range Episodes

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