04-12-08 - 1

I finally made it out to Henry Coe on Friday. I've been thinking about it for about a year, but it's an awfully long drive from SF city and the hikes are all long so I never quite made it. It's also really only nice in spring and tolerable in fall so you have a limited window to hit it. Henry Coe is the biggest State Park in CA ; that's not saying much since all the great places are national parks or national forests. It used to be a cattle ranch but was shut down & donated back in whatever year blah blah. It's all rolling hills and oaks and stuff, I imagine it's what 90% of southern California looked like before settlers cleared it (of course its nowhere near its original state either). There are lots of wildflowers in spring and it has a sort of rustic beauty. There's lots of wild life. We saw deer, wild turkeys, and a coyote.

Anyway, the attraction for me was always the swimming hole ("China Hole"). It's a moderately strenuous 5 mile hike in to the hole which keeps the crowd down a bit, at least on week days. It's a nice big clean hole in a river with some fun jumping rocks. There's a bit too much traffic for nudity unless you're an incosiderate freakazoid who likes to show off their wang and belly to hapless hikers. I went with Alissa and we spent a few hours jumping in the cold water then lying out on the rocks to heat up, then jumping in the water again. There were fish and turtles swimming around us, wild turkeys making their psychopathic-clown-laugh sound, and much clumsy buffoonery by me.

I would go more often if it wasn't a 1:30 drive :( ; I put a few pics on flickr.

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