Our 17 mile, 2-day backpacking trip in Henry Coe Park
May 29 & 30, 2001 

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Mahoney Pond - Coe Pk.jpg (170229 bytes)

We began our hike at the Northern entrance to Coe Park at 10:30am.  From the profile at the bottom of the picture, you can see that it's a gradual 4.5 mile 1,300 foot descent to a pond area of Coyote creek called China Hole.  We then climbed 700 feet to arrive at Mahoney Pond 2 miles later.  Temperatures had been in the 90's all day.
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mahoney-pond.jpg (42420 bytes)

Mahoney Pond was a disappointment as it's a small natural pond that has an earth berm to make it larger.  It's the watering hole for the wild turkeys, deer, and pigs that roam this area - and it also became our watering hole.  You gotta trust your water purifier when you pump from these places!

We set up camp, took off our boots, and crawled into our tent to take a nap.  At dusk we heard rustling in the grass.  Peaking out, we saw three deer grazing about 50 feet away.  Then they saw us and casually strolled up the hill.  After a tasty black bean chili dinner, we crashed!

In the morning, as it had only cooled down to 68 degrees and the weather prediction was that it was going to be over 100, we decided to pack up and head home a day early.

to-coyote-creek.jpg (46382 bytes) We broke camp around 9 and started back.  After 1/2 mile, we took the trail to the right so we could loop back to China hole along the creek.  We are going to descend 700 feet to the creek to cool off, pump more water, and have lunch.  We'll then climb 1,300 feet to walk along the ridge in the distance.
down-n-up.jpg (45787 bytes) down-n-up2.jpg (42813 bytes) Topographical profiles can be deceiving.  This is a view of a dip in the trail profile at the 8.1 mile mark.  This section happened to be a road but most of our hike was actually a trail about 3 feet wide.  By now the temperature was in the high 90s and we were out in the sun most of the time.  A few times, turkey vultures would circle overhead just like in the old-time western movies! 
coyote-creek.jpg (48160 bytes) We arrived at Coyote Creek which is quite beautiful.  No one is around making it very peaceful.  We walked along it for about a mile.  It still had enough water flowing that we had to plan for each crossing and always keep an eye out for poison oak.
cool-feet.jpg (32734 bytes) Finally we arrived at China Hole.  Even down at the cool water, the temperature was still 98 degrees.  We stripped and cooled off in the pond, had lunch, and rested for about an hour.  We pumped water, played camel by drinking a bunch, then began the steep climb out of the canyon to the ridge again.  One of the problems with Henry Coe Park is that the entrance is on a major mountain so no matter where you hike, you have to hike uphill on the return.
rest-stop.pg.jpg (49284 bytes) The climb from China Hole is so steep that the trail requires a series of switchbacks on the southern face of the mountain - mostly in full sun.  The temperature on my digital thermometer read over 100 most of the time and reached a peak of 104.2F.  Here we're taking a rest as we reached the shade on the ridge - only a couple of miles to go but they're still uphill - only it's not as steep!

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