backpacking @ henry coe

We went backpacking for the first (real) time this weekend at Henry Coe State Park. We drove over on Friday morning and got back on Sunday afternoon (two nights). A group of us went car-camping there last year same weekend (birthday camping!) so the colors in the park looked the same, but this year seemed a lot warmer. The weather was probably around 65F in the day time and 35F at night.

Key notes about what I packed, what I used, what I didn’t:
I packed really light for this trip, to see what kind of discomfort I might experience to accomodate for next time. To be honest, I didn’t miss much, and probably just overpacked a bit. I found out (or re-inforced) that I love my Omniheat top, and I should probably get another one. I also absolutely love my Smartwool jacket (wool sleeves, polyester filled torso) for its breathability. I could work on finding more ideal pants though, my Patagonia fake maternity pants sag throughout the day (perhaps because of the large elastic waistband lol) so what starts out as comfortable ends up being sticky and friction-y by the end of the day. I did pack a fresh pair of socks per day, which was nice, but in a pinch I could proably get away with one clean pair and one dirty pair, especially now that I’ve switched to wool (Darn Tough T4037) and they definitely stink less. I brought an extra microfiber towel (about 8″ x 12″) that I didn’t take out of my pack at all, and also a large napkin which I didn’t use at all, but expected to need to blow my nose with because I had a cold this weekend, but didn’t use because I just used toilet paper when needed. The extra piece of Tyvek I brought for sitting/resting on (approx 18″ x 60″) was great, and kept the butt of my pants relatively cleaner for sure. Plus it made for a nice “porch” in front of the vestibule for standing up and stretching on without having to put on shoes. I didn’t miss the chair. I could definitely go for a short+narrow sleeping pad, but I really like the warmth of the Exped Synmat 9. Almost too warm – my pant-less legs got sweaty and sticky in my sleeping bag overnight; would probably like to bring a thin pair of leggings for sleeping next time. I brought a water resistant shell which I didn’t need at all because it didn’t rain, and also my Leatherman Micra was excess (because Kevin brought one too, plus the only thing I cut with scissors was KT tape for Nancy.) Probably would still bring it next time though. Oh one thing I really wish I had but didn’t was chapstick. My lips are insanely chapped, but not sure if it’s because of the sun, wind, or dehydration…

Food and water:
We accounted for 1600 calories per day for me, and 2100 calories per day for Stan. We were pretty much right on the money, because we packed a couple hundred extra in snacks, and had a few partial bags leftover. Empty bear can at the end of a trip feels great! I definitely carried an extra 2-2.5 liters of extra water daily, but I really figure that if I’m gonna carry extra anything, it better be water. I drank about 2L each day.

Other notes:
My pack weighed 25.8 lb at the start of day one, carrying sleeping bag, mat, tent, snacks, misc, and 5L water. It weighed about 23 lb at the end of day 3, probably just because I only had about 3 L left and barely any snacks on me. Stan’s pack went from about 28 lb to 20 lb from all the food consumption. I didn’t poop on the trail, but probably could have on the last morning if I had some time. But that campsite had people camped right next to the bathroom. Speaking of bathrooms, all the campsites had vault toilets so no shovel adventures this time.

Mileage and trip notes:
Unfortunately Coe park hiking trails aren’t in Google maps. So this’ll have to do, even though it’s messy. I tracked our start/break times and what time we got to each intersection, but it’s a bit messy because I missed some stops. In total, we went approx 18.5 miles in approx 10.5 hours + 2.5 hours of breaks, which doesn’t include overnight/camp rests. It was probably about 4000′ gain over the entire loop.

  • start at hunting hollow
  • 2.0 to coyote creek gate via gilroy hot springs road
  • 2.5=0.1+0.2+0.7+0.5+1.0 to dexter trail via grizzly gulch trail
  • 0.8=0.6+0.2 to kelly lake trail via dexter trail
  • 1.0 to kelly lake via kelly lake trail
  • 1.2=0.1+0.8+0.3 to coit lake via coit road
  • CAMP
  • 0.3 to crest trail via coit road
  • 1.1=0.8+0.2+0.1 to wagon road via crest trail
  • 3.3 to willson camp via wagon road
  • CAMP
  • 3.1=0.6+0.8+0.2+0.2+0.3+0.6+0.4 to jim donnelly trail via steer ridge road
  • 3.2=3.1+0.1 to hunting hollow entrance via jim donnelly trail

Last thoughts
It was great! I’m quite sore, especially my quads (lateral lower portion?) and calves. Nobody else is sore, but maybe because I was the only one without hiking poles, plus with barefoot shoes? I think I should do some beach-running training in preparation for Lost Coast. If I’m sore after 3 days I definitely have some work to do for longer trips. Excited for the next one!

alamere falls (from palomarin trailhead)

We drove to Marin (again) to do the Alamere Falls hike. Apparently this is the Mission Peak of north bay – masses of people, a scramble in the end… but at least the hike is mostly shaded and not as much elevation gain.

It took us 4 hours which included a leisurely lunch break at the falls. The hike was pretty easy, mostly flat for most of the trail. Lots of poison oak.

I’m ready for a longer hike!!

stinson beach to pantoll loop

We went on a hike today with Kevin, Kaleb, Brandon and Justin. Stanley and I drove with Kevin and picked up Kaleb on the way from Oakland. The drive there was long – about 1:45, sigh. Marin is so far away!

I accidentally gave Brandon and Justin false directions, so they were at a different trailhead, but we decided just to take our own trails and possibly meet in the middle. Which we did! Which was pretty fun.

The hike took us about 4 hours and 30 minutes, with a ~15-20 minute lunch break and Trojan Point and a potty break at Pantoll. Slightly faster than bahiker’s estimate since we took the Trojan point detour. The beginning of the hike was quite steep and we were all really winded, but after ~2 miles it quickly leveled out for the remainder of way, til the Trojan Point detour. We walked straight up the mountain which was soo tiring lol. The rest of the loop after Pantoll was tame, just a steady downhill all the way back to Stinson beach.

Round trip measures 8 miles on Gmaps. I’d like to do the full hike from Stinson beach all the way to Mt Tam someday, but that’s 16 miles and about 9 hours. Maybe about a month before we get scheduled for Half Dome…

angel island

Stan booked a campsite (#4!) at Angel Island for the second weekend of July and 8 of us spent a night on the island. Sophie, Eric, Amy, Joe, Josh and Roberta joined us this time. We took the 10-ish AM ferry from Pier 41, arrived at the island around 11 and decided to do a quick hike to the summit. The island is so small that the summit hike took less than 2 hours starting and ending at the dock. We got back, had lunch by the dock, and then hiked over with all our gear to the campsite on the other side of the island, taking part of the Perimeter road. The campsite was amazing, with a great near-360 view of SF and all the bridges. We basically chilled at camp the rest of the day. The next morning we decided to take the rest of the perimeter road (5 miles?) back to the dock for our return ferry. And just like that we essentially traversed the entire tiny island, haha.

mt diablo

Stanley, Justin and I went to Mt Diablo a few weekends ago (7/23-7/24)! The park gate is closed from sunset til 8am, so instead of rushing over there after work on Friday, we left south bay early morning on Saturday morning. It took about 2 hours to get there in the morning, and we arrived basically as the gate was opening at 8am. Found a relatively shady campsite, made some cashew butter and plum jam sandwiches, and headed off for our hike!

It was a great hike (in my opinion)!! Started off with some downhill, which I appreciated because I hate downhills at the end of hikes, lol. It was relatively flat until we got on the ridge trail – that diagonal cut-off across the top. We had an option to continue following the fire road (only an additional 0.2 miles, but definitely probably less fun) so I led our party onto the ridge trail. I’ve never hiked a ridge trail before and it was so much fun. There were enough small trees and shrubbery for most of that leg of the trail to keep us mostly shady. Path was barely wide enough for two feet, lots of squatting to avoid getting face slapped by leaves and poison oak, rocky and inclined for major muscle activation lol. My favorite part was the twists and turns where you don’t know what’s next – a small hill? A flat rest area? Rocks, trees, bushes?

The summit itself was whatever, views of dead grass in the hot of the summer… I prefer hiking in areas that are more isolated from city life, but from the summit of Mt Diablo you can just barely make out the San Francisco skyline in the distance. Pretty fun to notice how far and how close we can get from the city… puts things in perspective, huh?

We got back to the campsite around 2 or 3? Bummed around and snacked, took a group nap, then prepped burgers for dinner. Played a few board games, played some pokeymans, took some pictures, and KO’d for bed early as usual :)

labor day weekend

Someone said that in 2015, Memorial Day was at the earliest day possible and Labor Day was at the latest day possible, defining the longest unofficial summer, but in my mind the longest time between paid holidays/free 3-day weekends at work. Certainly felt like a breath of fresh air. It’s amazing how much just a single day of disruption to the norm of working life can feel so liberating.

I didn’t do much this weekend – it was great. Took a couple naps. Normal weekend activities like running, yoga, farmer’s market. We went to the mall on Saturday to browse and run errands; I bought a pair of shoes from the Nordstrom sale to consider for a few weeks. (Still the best return policy ever.) Yesterday I went hiking with Kristen, Rose and Yvonne at Sanborn County Park, which was recommended by Eric(‘s dad) as his favorite hike because of the full shade. It was pretty nice, only about 30 minutes away and mostly flat. I think hiking a loop is typically more fun than an out-and-back, plus the trail we took (from Sunnyvale Mountain Trailhead to Indian Rock and back) didn’t have a lot of vista points nor was the rock at the end that exciting. But the walk was nice, and the shade was super appreciated on the 96 deg F high day. I carried an extra 10-15 lbs of water, snacks, camera, miscellany, for a cross-training day instead of running per my half marathon plan. It was totally fine and I’d like to potentially carry more next time if the trail was similarly flat (~600 ft gain/3 miles one way).

Yesterday afternoon Nancy and I dropped by Fitgeek (running shoe store by Ike’s in Cupertino) to chat with the experts about running shoes and methods, and to get “gait analysis” done on our running form. As expected, my running form is good (mid-foot strike, no over- or under-pronation) but my feet do land a little more centerlined under my body than ideal. Best joint alignment is for the feet to land directly under the hips. I’ll try being more conscious about my running form next time, and see if it makes any difference. I run in near-barefoot shoes, and I asked the guy if there was anything I could do about arch soreness. He basically said if it’s not pain, my body will probably adjust to it, but if it bothered me I should try a shoe with a little more stiffness. I’m going to try putting heel/arch half inserts into my shoes during my next run, too, to see if my plantar-whatever gets less sore.

It was fun to watch my feet and legs running in super slow motion, to see how the feet land and legs adjust and absorb motion. Somewhat disappointing that they didn’t have any magical fix solutions for my miniscule complaints, but grateful that I don’t have actual aches and pains that would keep me from my goals. Nancy’s analysis was about the same, lol.