Like I mentioned in the earlier post, this was to be a three day, two night trip into Henry Coe State Park in northern California.<br />n<br />nAfter arriving at the park and parking, we made our way into the visitors center to register and pay our fees. It was apparent that there were lots of other people with the same idea as us, and I was getting a big worried that there would be a lot of competition for the sites and locations I had planned for.<br />n<br />nSpeaking to the volunteer in the visitors center, we learned that the first night’s spots were reserved already, but we could go a bit further and be at a nice place near a flowing spring, a place called Willow Ridge Spring. So we took it and finished our business.<br />n<br />nWe moved the car to the “long term parking”, farther away from the car campground, and got our stuff ready, on our backs, and then set out.<br />n<br />nIt’s mostly downhill from the headquarters, following a slight downhill slope along a ridge as we made our way to the China Hole area. Trying to stay off the roads and on the single track trails as much as possible, we followed the Corral Trail, then the Springs Trail, which run parallel to the Manzanita Point Road as it heads south east.<br />n<br />nEventually, we had to get on to the road and to keep going, through Manzanita Point and its dispersed set of camp sites. This is an area that’s relatively close to the headquarters, and it’s good for groups since the rangers will allow one car to come down the road to deliver and drop off supplies for the group.<br />n<br />nPassing Manzanita Point, we got on to the China Hole trail and followed that down, down, down through lots of different micro forests of manzanitas (with their oily looking, dark red, smooth trunks and branches) and other shrubbery. We also passed by meadows that accurately reflect the stereotypical tan, dried grassy texture of the Diablo range, which comprises the eastern SF bay area foothills.<br />n<br />nIt’s a good time to remark here, lest I forget, that the trek to China Hole is mostly downhill. My feet, or rather the skin of my feet, reminded me of this negatively sloped fact as it was being rubbed, back and forth, with an intention of loosening it from the substrate on which it’s normally attached. Hot spots were developing in my single sock layered feet, as I hoped that this miscalculation would not result in various blisters on our first day, or first hours, of the outing!<br />n<br />nWe reached China Hole after only about 90 minutes of hiking, joining at least two other parties at the Hole enjoying lunch and some splashing around in the water. The Hole appears to be a convergence of two arms of Coyote Creek as it flows into one, making its way northward eventually to and through San Jose. The creek is quite nice here and looks to probably be wet all year long. Lots of boulders and rocks and some rough sandy beach provide plenty of space to sit down and grab a bar and bag of nuts, and even refill your water if need be.<br />n<br />nWe did have a bit of lunch here but didn’t need more water. The still-overcast sky kept things cool, so no danger of overheating. I pulled out my Garmin GPS to check our elevation and get nail down our location for the first time, and after the device acquired satellites, I marked a way point, noticing that there were way points already marked for other nearby landmarks from my trip to this area back in 2004.<br />n<br />nSo far, so good. In the next post, I’ll describe our passage through the Narrows and on to Los Cruzeros.