Dean and I have sort of been on a health kick lately, trying to take better care of ourselves. One of the things I’ve instituted is a weekly hike. I’ve been browsing pictures and websites of regional parks, state reserves, open space preserves on the hunt for our next trail. Lake Tahoe is top of the list, but that will take out a full weekend.
I discovered massive Henry Coe State Park in the South Bay which is the second (to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park) largest state park in California. Why have I never heard of this place? I wanted to go some place inland since we were recently in coastal Monterey.
The park is 13 miles from the East Dunne Avenue exit in Morgan Hill with much of that straight up a winding road. That’s just the drive to get to the park headquarters! The visitor’s office is staffed with helpful rangers who collect an $8 parking fee, and carries T-shirts, hats, binoculars, and snacks.
The weather was perfect, warm in the sun, but cool in the shade. Most hikers advise skipping Henry Coe during the summer months, but from what I can gather, the summer is not as severe as people make it out to be.
The park is a beautiful array of dry and verdant rolling hills lush with manzanita and pine trees. This is a true hike. Not your average Tennessee Valley jaunt. The trail we took had very little flat surface; we were either huffing it up the mountain or watching our footing on the downward slopes. We did a full three hour hike and Dean was a trooper.
Hiking is in my blood so no, I’m not in spritely shape. But I always remember what my forestry camp professor (who was in his 60s) said while we hiked for four hours straight to the top of a mountain, “Don’t stop.” He had a herd of 20+ college kids lagging behind him and I remember thinking, this man is three times our age and he isn’t breaking a sweat.
Two and a half hours into our Henry Coe trip, all I could think of was the red Coca-Cola refrigerator and ice-cold water back at headquarters.
I give this park a gold star for being one of the most gorgeous hikes I’ve ever done. Almost complete solitude once you set out on a trail. Love this place, we’ll be back in the fall.
Sadly, I forgot my camera! Here is a picture I pulled from http://coepark.net/.