20b gypsum further up trail

Roundabout Ramble in Henry Coe

I’m sitting here at home, watching the snow fall and the temperature drop. Currently the snow is almost 10 inches deep registering a balmy 1° and forecast to hit -24° overnight. Taking a rest from shoveling, which is best done in 3-4 inch increments, let’s reminisce about a delightful day hike in California’s beautiful Henry Coe State Park this past November. With the unusually high, and desperately needed, rainfall levels in October, the greens have sprung back to springtime shades. Henry Coe is California’s second largest state park (largest in Northern CA) encompassing 89,164 acres. It is a sprawling wilderness of ridges and steep canyons in the Diablo Range. Today we will wander a bit and see what we can see, so grab your gear and let’s go.

Come along into the woods . . .

20b gypsum further up trail

Mummy Mountain Meander

There is one thing I can always count on when I make my biannual visit to California, and that’s another great hike with my good friend. This time we head to Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch, a 4,595-acre regional recreation area off U.S. Highway 101 in the hills east of Gilroy. We are at the southern end of the park entering through the Mendoza Ranch Entrance. It is early afternoon on an overcast day, but the Bay Area has had so much rain in the last month the bright green grasses look more like spring rather than mid-November. Let’s see what other surprises await us as we climb Mummy Mountain.

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Continue to the trailhead . . .

20b gypsum further up trail

CA Getting It Right

I’d like to recognize a true achievement by the state and counties of California, namely, their commitment to state parklands and open space preserves set aside for everyone’s enjoyment. On my recent visit to family and friends who live in Santa Clara County, home of Silicon Valley and over one million residents, I visited one of the newest open spaces–the 348-acre Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve in the rolling hills just west of US101. And what could be better than taking his hike with a good friend, so into the mountains we go!

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Continue walking . . .

20b gypsum further up trail

Where’s the Beach?

I visit California twice a year to spend cherished time with family and friends, but some of the richest experiences evolve from visiting and walking the Pacific coast. I love the mountains, but the ocean has a call all its own, and I’m hearing that call. Moss Beach, Half Moon Bay, Capitola, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur–sweeping landscapes with waves crashing against boulders and cliffs that are respites to many sea birds. Growing up on the East Coast we went “down the shore” to beautiful sandy beaches, but on the West Coast we have to hunt for sandy beaches which may already be claimed by seals or sea lions. Today we are going to Big Sur, known for its stunning views along Highway 1. Welcome to Andrew Molera State Park in the Santa Lucia Mountains. Come on–my best friend and I look forward to you joining us on our walk to the coast.

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Onward to the ocean . . .