Sunday, May 15, 2011

Coyote Creek

Grassy gully near Grizzly Gulch
Never one to waste a good spring day off, I set out for another of my long time favorite seasonal hikes. The Coyote Creek trail head at Henry Coe State Park provides a really good starting point for hiking the central zones of the park. With Coe’s status again in peril from the incompetence and political malaise infesting Sacramento, now is an excellent time to get a hike in somewhere at Coe. It’s going to be a disgrace of monumental proportions if the State government actually goes ahead with the most recent proposed closure list. Henry Coe has been on the closure list for years, and while closing any of those parks would be a short sighted and ineffective move, closing this one would amount to betrayal of public trust. Many of California’s state parks only exist because of the land being donated or otherwise deeded over to the state primarily for protection. These tracks of land do not belong to the politicians, or any sitting regime, but to the tax paying public of the state. But, let’s not give up hope just yet. Go on a hike and enjoy it while the park is still officially open. If you do enough hiking there no one will have to ask you to write a letter to the governor’s office to express your grave concerns about closing it.

Chinese Houses populate the base of a tree
The trails in and around the Grizzly Gulch zone of the park typically have nice displays of wild flowers. The rugged hills infused with serpentine, and dotted with oaks and shrubbery are alive with activity this time of year. Bumble bees and butterflies are buzzing around, and everything is still mostly green. Many of the trails are a mixture of open areas which support many common species, along with scattered, lightly shaded, grassy hillsides, intermittently blooming with Chinese Houses, Ground Iris, and Coast Larkspur. The houses can range in colors from all white, to a pinkish shade, to the classic purple and white whorls, some of which can have 4 or 5 layers. You never know exactly where you will find them, and sometimes they will be mostly off trail in areas where you really cannot get close enough to for taking decent pictures. Along the way you can enjoy some gentle sunshine, cool breezes, and nice views from the high points along the Jackson, Wasno, and Steer Ridges.

Lupine along Wasno Road
My route for this hike began at the gate to Coit Road, hiking .9 miles to the Anza Trail. I hiked up the switchbacks of the Anza Trail to the junction with Jackson Trail, topping out at about 2621 feet. From there turned onto the Elderberry Trail, to Spring Trail, and back to Jackson Road. Heading east on Jackson through to Wasno Road, I thought about heading down to Kelly Lake, but decided instead to hike up to Wilson Peak. I hiked through to the Tule Pond Tail, and down to and Grizzly Gulch Trail giving back some altitude to about 1800 feet. I headed up Wilson Peak Trail back up to about 2612 feet, and along Steer Ridge. I finally headed back toward the trail head descending down the Spike Jones Trail. The numbers for this route were 12.5 miles with 3261 feet of total elevation gain.

Click here to see my pictures on flickr
Click here to view my track log and elevation profile on Every Trail


meowmeowmeow said...

Nice photos, and I hope the bay area hikers show up and everything works out! Looking at your posts and photos, I think you might be interested in, a peakbagging website. If shoot me an email I'd be delighted to give you more information/hear your feedback!

Happy hiking!

Waypoints said...

Looks interesting Leila.