Now that is a whole lot of wilderness just outside the SF Bay Area! Apparently, Henry Coe is the largest state park in Northern California and that sounds about right. I had been there once before, about fifteen years ago, on a backpacking overnight with my dad and son. All I remember from that trip was: 100+ degree heat, algae pond where water source was supposed to be, and heat stroked son. Suffice to say, this was a much better trip.
Sadly, I got stuck at work on Friday afternoon and we got out later than I wanted. I knew that was going to put us on a windy road in the dark, but I also didn’t want to miss out on a camping night. I’m not sure if that was the best call. We survived it, but it took several glasses of wine to come down off the fear rush. Because of the recent rains, there were many places where the already narrow road was made even tighter because of mini mud slides. I also have numerous pictures in my head of roads just straight up falling off the sides of mountains. What I was worried about was being on the road at the moment when it went from there, to not there. So that stretch took about twice as long as it otherwise would have and when we finally pulled into the campground, I really couldn’t see a thing. Plus, I was super tense. Plus, those campground roads are mostly set up for tent campers and are very narrow and steep in places. Plus, the backup camera is not working. So, wine is a good thing.
Saturday we went on a hike out to Frog Lake. That is a very nice hike. I have fond memories of the Visitor Center because that was where I got cold Coke and an air conditioned Jeep ride from the park rangers when my son was throwing up from the heat. He was fine, btw, and really meant that “Thanks, Mom.” when he got into the Jeep. We made sure to get a look at the Henry Coe Memorial and “Eric’s Bench” on our way to the Lake. We took the Flat Frog Creek Trail on the way back and that was really lovely. There are waterfalls everywhere right now, but I’ll bet that’s rare. On our hike back to Dory, we could just spot her on the side of the mountain a couple of times from the trail.
There were tent campers and backpackers out there and we felt very sorry for them in the middle of the night when it was raining. We also saw a group of maybe ten people carrying pots of water along the trail. It was odd enough that we asked what they were doing. Their camp site was about a mile and half out and they hadn’t realized there was no water source. So they all broke out their cooking pots and hiked all the way back to the parking lot, filled whatever they could think of, and carried it all back out. That was pretty much what I had done fifteen years ago when we found Bass Pond had become more of a Bass Puddle that no water filter would have wanted to attempt.
We got back around 4 and I had time to lounge before writing a report. Then Blue Apron for dinner and “Lost” before bed. Perfect.
It did rain pretty hard Saturday night, and I admit I got a little worried that we’d slide off the mountain in the middle of the night. No such thing happened of course, but from the pictures, you can see how anything paved in California has definitely taken a beating.
Sunday it snowed! For most people, this is not a big deal. But for us, it was pretty exciting! Mostly it hailed, but there were periods of no really, for real, this is snow. We pulled out around noon and watched the tent campers squeezing water out of everything they owned. 1pm espresso happened at Anderson Lake. I noted that this might be a nice place for kayaking in the future. Boy, is it muddy right now!
Last stop before home was the Pleasanton Fairgrounds RV campground so we could dump tanks. That was on the expensive side ($25), but I guess I don’t really care how much it costs to be able to empty waste tanks. Like I’m not sure what the number would have to be for me to say no thanks, we’ll just be keeping that in the garage with us for a couple weeks.
This place will warrant a return trip (in the daylight). Cell service was great, solar was great, hikes were great. All in all, this was a nice place but I’d hope to not repeat those last thirty miles up after heavy rains.
Total miles: 81.9, 14.9 mpg (lots of uphill), 3 hours 7 min (going very slowly the last 30 miles). Site: 13; great solar, nice and private on one side, great cell service for ATT.