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