Looking for a place to escape to on a weekend, Willie and I found Henry W. Coe State Park. It’s located east of Morgan Hill, just south of San Jose. I’d heard about the extensive trails at Henry W. Coe, but I hadn’t been there yet. It was too early in the year to hike the Yolla Bollies, another area that we were considering, so we opted for the coastal hills at Henry W. Coe.
Crossing the confluence of Little Coyote Creek and Middle Fork Coyote Creek
The season was perfect for backpacking in this location – the grass was green, wildflowers were blooming, and there were lots of newts about. We did a three-day loop from the park headquarters. Our route took us to Coit Lake via Poverty Flat Rd. and Willow Ridge Rd., on the first day. Coit Lake was pleasant, and contained black bass and crappie, but it was hard to find any place to cast a fly rod with all the tules growing around the shore. A spinning rig would work well there. On the second day, we hiked to China Hole via the Cross Canyon Trail and Mahoney Ridge Road. One of the most interesting sections was the part that passes through Kelly Cabin Canyon, where the trail became faint and we mostly walked along and through a small creek. On the last day, we hiked from China Hole back the headquarters, via China Hole Trail and Manzanita Point Rd.
Char’s friends Rosa & Joseph invited us to Alonissos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, to celebrate their wedding with a group of friends. Rosa and her sister Dahlia have been going to Alonissos since they were young.We stayed there for ten days, soaking in the Mediterranean sun and spending lots of time on the beach. The island has retained some of its rustic charm, while other Greek islands have become more popular as upscale resorts. We stayed in the Old Village, a collection of stone houses and shops set along cobbled streets at the top of a hill on the southern end of the island.
The Old Village, as seen from a nearby peak
Alonissos bears a strong resemblance to California in some ways. There are steep, rocky hills that meet the beach, and it was about as hot as the warmer parts of California during the summer. There are a few differences, though. The air is more humid, the beaches are rocky, not sandy, and there are olive trees everywhere. We ate lots of fresh fish and calamari, grilled meats, tzatsiki, aubergine dip and Greek salad. It was a very relaxing way to celebrate the wedding, which is happening this weekend in Paris.
Some of these photos were taken by Marika and Jalia, two of our island cohort. I thought it would be nice to put them all together and share them with the group. Wherever you are, friends: I know you know.
Last August, C. and I took a trip to the southern Sierra Nevadas for a ten-day trek around the Kaweahs. The Kaweah Peaks Ridge is an imposing line of peaks in Sequoia National Park that forms a wall between the western portion of the park and the Kern River. The Kaweahs dominate the landscape in this part of the Sierras; wherever you go, you can usually spot one of the peaks.
Kaweah Peaks Ridge from Little Five Lakes
Black Kaweah is a picturesque, toothlike peak visible from the top of our first big climb at Colby Pass.
The Kaweah Peaks Ridge from Colby Pass – Black Kaweah is the tallest one, center right
There were a few distinguishing features of the trip, besides the Kaweahs: – The Great Western Divide, which is a larger formation that meets the Kaweah Peaks Ridge at Triple Divide Peak. We crossed the Great Western Divide twice, at Colby Pass and Sawtooth Pass. – The smoke. We started hiking just after the Rough Fire began, and the skies were clear for the first three days.
More fires started in Big Arroyo as we were leaving.
Starting on the fourth day, we had clear mornings, and the smoke settled in at around noon. The smoke built up until mid-afternoon, and things were very hazy until late at night. We even saw a small fire that had started along the trail and doused it in water, only to see more smoke there the next morning. There were signs about fires in the area when we left, so it’s unclear whether we found a new fire or not. – The logistics: we started out alone, then met C.’s parents on the third day. We spent three nights together, before heading out to meet my parents. Both meetings happened in the backcountry, without aid of cell phones or radios, and everything worked out, which seemed almost miraculous at the time. – Pants Pass, which we crossed via a trail-less route from east to west. The route was steep and loose, but even so, it seems like it would be harder going from west to east.
All in all, it was a memorable trip, and I’m sure I’ll revisit the area before long.