- May 27, 2015 at 8:10 pm #1329338Tony WongBPL Member
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Corral Trail Head to Los Cruzeros – The Narrows
14.1 Mile Loop, Overnight Trip
Memorial Day Weekend 05-23-15 to 05-24-15
Daytime Temps: 75-70F
Evening Temps: 50-45F
Website: Henry Coe State Park
This trip was a spur of the moment adventure after plans to get to the Trinity Alps, the Five Lakes Basin near Lake Tahoe, and the Ventana WIldern fell through. The likely chance of cold weather and rain at the Trinity Alps and Five Lakes Basin, killed those locations. Oddly, the Ventana Wilderness was open to us, but the Ranger repeatedly told me that all stoves were banned, requiring cold meals. Not an ideal way to introduce my girlfriend to her first backpacking trip.
Henry Coe offered a location that was only 1.5 hours away from the East Bay, had good weather, and was familiar terrain. The only issue was that Henry Coe is often a very dry location, which dries out by late spring til the rains of late fall. We were fortunate that there were still sources of water, which will like be gone in a month's time.
Henry Coe State Park is the largest State Park in Northern California with 89,000 acres and the is the second largest State Park in all of California. It is also known as or encompasses the Orestimba Wilderness.
Typically, only the Western Zone/Portion of the park is accessible year round. The other zones being too dry to venture into in the summertime. Call the Ranger Station for the status of water sources to be safe.
Interestedly, there is a 50 loop that is possible to but due to the lack of water in the summer time, I am thinking that it would be an interesting winter/wet weather trip to do in the future.
Campsites are on a first come, first serve basis with permits being offered at 8 am.
We arrived at 8:30 am on Saturday morning to find that all of the campsites in the Western Zone had been taken. In fact, driving into the parking lot, we were greeted with the sight of lots of backpackers getting ready to head out or just hitting the trails….along with day hikers.
Henry Coe Headquarters
Note: Photo was taken at the end of the trip as I forgot to take a shot upon arriving
A Grey Morning of Mist
Hanging out while I drive the car to a lower parking lot with a short 1/2 or 1/4 mile hike back to the headquarters
Left to Right: Scott, Jeremy, and Nadesdye on her 1st backpacking trip
Corral Trail Head at the Headquarters
Note: Photo was taken on the last day heading out
A Cool and Damp Start
The mist hung in the morning air and felt like tiny droplets of invisible rain that never fell from the skies
A Lush and Damp Trail
0.6 Miles on the Corral Trail to Fish Trail
Up and Down the Trail
1.9 Miles along the Fish Trail to Middle Ridge Trail
Scott on the Way to Poverty Flats
2.5 Miles along the Middle Ridge Trail
Step Sections of the Trail
Nothing too horrible, but the hard, dry clay ground offered little traction.
Happy to have my trekking poles on this trip
Nadesdye with Her New LuxuryLite-StackPack, External Frame Pack 24 oz. for the Frame & Hook Belt. Three waterproof storage cylinders with a volume of 3845 CU IN adds 16 oz. Total Weight of 2 lbs 8 oz.
A lightweight modular storage cylinder packing system with telescoping frame to adjust to any torso length. We chose this pack for her first backpacking trip because of her rotator cuff injury, which prevents her from having any weight on her shoulders. The external frame transfer all of the weight to a large hip belt with a hook for the Luxurylite frame to attach too. The result is that there is ZERO weight placed upon the shoulders.
Note: The Top Cylinder is under filled, which resulted in the top cylinder sliding behind the lower cylinder and throwing off the balance of the load. The cylinders need to be tightly loaded up so that they retain their shape and do not deform under the weight of the cylinders above them.
Either on or on the way to Poverty Flats Road
Stopping for Lunch Just Short of the Poverty Flat Campsites
Having just crosses a trickle of a stream, we stopped within sight of the occupied campsites at Poverty Flats
Jeremy Leads the Way
Easy Trekking on Poverty Flats Road to Los Cruzeros
1.5 Miles on the Poverty Flat Road to Shafer Corral Trail
Relatively close to the trail intersection leading to China Hole
Actually, we would not actually reach Los Cruzeros, as all the campsites had been taken. The Rangers diverting us to a location just slightly North of Los Cruzeros
Open and Exposed on the Poverty Flats Road
Very Close to the Jackass Trail Intersection
Last Hints of the Fading Green of Spring
We did not come across any fellow backpackers hiking on the trails and the few day hikers we came across where long behind us as we were far from the trail head. The only company that we would see on the trail out here were mountain bikers.
Turning onto Shafer Corral Trail
String of Ants Along the Trail
0.4 Miles on the Corral Trail to the Narrows Trail along the Coyote Creek
View to the South Towards the Los Cruzeros Campsites
A Bit Steep and Hard on the Knees
This was a level spot, but going slow down the hills was a bit hard on the ole knees
Crossing Coyote Creek
Heading Down the Narrows Looking for a Campsite
Tough Finding a Good Site with Water
We walked just a little further than the tree that you see in the distance.
Not seeing a decent flat spot for pitching out tents that was near water, we turned around. Had we simply gone just a little bit further to round the bend, a whole lush valley opened up that was very grassy, but pretty.
Setting Up Camp by the Side of the Trail
It was not a great site for sure…open and exposed to the sun, but it was a large flat area for us to spread out and there was a rock to sit and hang out on with water close by.
Jeremy's Mountain Laurel Designs Super Light Bivy with all Mesh Head Net in Wide/Large
Henry Shires Double Rainbow Tarptent
Borrowed a friend's first generation Double Rainbow to try out with my girlfriend.
Love that each of us has our own side entrance door and the tent has plenty of headroom. I also appreciate the simplicity of one pole and four stakes to set it up. Six if you are in rainy/windy weather and need to deploy the twin vestibules.
Definitely going to buy the current version with its improvements over the first generation version. Namely, a better bathtub floor with interior clips to prevent sagging along the middle sections of the bathtub floor. I believe that there are additional guy line tie outs on the exterior of the tent to provide more wind resistance.
Scott's Big Agnes Copper Spur
Simple Joys and Luxuries on a Short Trip…Beer
Nadesdye Tries to Find a Comfortable Spot
After setting up out tents and gathering some water for the evening, we kicked back on this bumpy rock for a few hours having a snack and chatting away the afternoon. Despite the lack of cover from the sun, there was an occasional breeze and the sun was not all that hot with temperatures in the low 70's
Exploring the Narrows
After a few hours of kicking back, we decided to go for a hike to see what lay further beyond where we had previously turned around
Dry Creek Beds…within a week or two, this place would likely be bone dry.
Making it Around the Bend
I was surprised to see this canyon open up with tall grasses and much more water. It was a bit of an oasis tucked away in the Narrows.
Hiking Toward Bear Mountain Road & Private Property
As we hiked further into the Narrows, we saw a few people and maybe 4-5 tents spread out along the few flat spots close to the water.
End of the Line with the Blue Ridge Road to Poverty Flat
Little House on the Hill
Off in the Distance there was a lone structure on the hill with what had to be a great view of the surrounding area. According to the map, there was a patch of private property up ahead. The road before us likely lead one way or another to that house.
Pretty Flowers Along the Trail with Nadesdye
Back to Our Rock
Returning to camp there was not much to do other than to hang out and relax
This is an alien concept, this relaxing…what about hiking 15 miles a day from dawn til dusk…the pain, misery, suffering, and aching muscles…isn't backpacking supposed to bring me closer to God through suffering and carrying a heavy pack???
Using Your Sleeping Pad for Double Duty
I learned this from my friend, Ken T., on a prior trip. The stupid logic of it was staggering. When on rocky or hard ground, use your foam pad for a more comfortable seating arrangement. The down side is that my close cell foam pad is a bit cut up now.
Less sore butt.
Note: The 16 oz Squeeze Bag that Comes with the Sawyer Mini Filter is an excellent size for storing Sparkling Wine.
View from the Rock
Water is Life
You notice that most trails are always next to rivers and streams?
Decided to try out using a Smart Water Bottle with my Sawyer Mini Filter, which I have read is very durable and popular with users of this filter. Being ridged, the Smart Water Bottle can easily be submerged into the water to fill up. Unlike using a soft sided water bottle like a Platypus brand bottle, which can require that you bring a scoop for filling up the soft sided bottle. Anyway, the Smart Water Bottle worked fine. Maybe I would like it better if I hooked up my Blue Nile Hydration system to it to allow me to sip water while hiking vs. stopping to attach my filter to the Smart Water Bottle to get a drink of water.
Beer is Life, for Jeremy
Given that this was a short distance, over nighter with tons of time to kill, why not bring your favorite beverage? Jeremy simply was cooling his beer down by soaking it in the water.
Scott Gets Ready to Make Dinner
Jeremy Pulls Food Out of his Original URsack
Notice the white spots all over Jeremy's Ursack. Teeth marks from having barely survived an all night bear attack. Food was kinda saved from that incident. Crushed food mixed with bear slobber. To be fair, Jeremy did not have the optional metal insert to protect against or limit the amount of crushing done to the food. However, after that incident, Jeremy will only carry a bear canister while in bear country.
Tony with his 12 year old Sunday Afternoon Hat
Functional "dorkitude" never looked so stylish on the trail.
Okay, never going to be stylish, but this hat is awesome on the trail.
Plenty of protection from the sun for the eyes and the back of the neck.
Providing some nice protection in the rain too for my glasses.
Poor hat is faded and beat up, but it does the job and I am fond of it.
Ramen, it is what is for dinner if you are lazy
Added frozen corn and frozen won ton dumpling from Costco.
Things you can bring out on an over nighter.
The Simple Joys of a Hot Meal, Good Company, and Being Outdoors with a Beer
Must Keep Nadesdye Warm at All Cost and Feed Her Brownies
Nadesdye is a cold sleeper for sure. Even on warm days, she is often wearing a jacket.
One of the indulgences that I brought was a freshly baked tray of brownies to share with everyone.
Double Rainbow in the Night…Tarptent
Bivy Hiking Pole Support
Simply using a few rocks to hold the hiking poles upright provides a point tie off the bug netting of the bivy so it does not rest on your face. This also provides a lot more interior space at the head area, which makes the bivy feel a lot less confined.
Another View of Scott's Big Agnes Copper Spur
Breakfast on the Rocks
Food in a chain mail Outsak 3.5 OZ 650 CU IN.
Sawyer Mini Filter attached to Smart Water Bottle.
Scott Using Platypus Big Zip Hydration with Sawyer Inline Filter as Gravity Filter
Optimus Remote Canister Stove
Overlooking the Campsite
Heading West Through the Narrows to China Hole
Crossing the Creek that Leads to Eagle Pines Peak
After a very leisurely morning and breakfast, we packed up our gear and headed out with the hope of having the overcast cloud cover that we had the day before.
Pushing Up Into the Narrows
Fuzz Ball of Whiteness
Point After Passing Mahoney Meadows Road to the Lost Spring
An Unexpectedly Green and Lush Area
Surprising Amount of Water
Oasis in the Narrows
Colors along the Trail
Winding Through the Narrows
Catching Up with the Others
Taking a Break for Water and a Snack
Nadesdye takes an opportunity to remove her Luxurylie StackPack and Hook Belt
Close up of two of three cylinders that comes with with the Luxurylite Pack.
The Stackpack comes with two large cylinder and one medium cylinder.
All three cylinders provides 70L of capacity.
In this case, Nadesdye has one large cylinder and the medium one on top of it.
As this was our first time out using this pack, it took a little bit of adjustment to get the cylinders just right. (This would have been easier if I had carefully read the detailed and illustrated instructions included with the pack). Bottom line, you need to make sure that the cylinders are densely packed. Particularly, the bottom one. A tightly packed cylinder holds it shape and prevents the cylinder above it from crushing and deforming it. On the hike in, we had a problem with the top cylinder sliding "behind the lower cylinder….which cased the lower cylinder to get pushed away from the bottom shelf. Simply taking a quilt out of its compression bag did the trick and filled up all the loose space in the cylinder, which also had the benefit of keeping items moving side to side within the cylinder. This provided the stability needed to carry the pack easily and comfortably.
Note: The Hook Belt is laying on top of the Stackpack. The yellow foam is a welcome cushion for the lumbar/lower back.
Going to China Hole
Pushing Up China Hole towards Manzanita Point
Nadesdye Marches On
Stackpack Cylinders Riding Right When Loaded Properly
View of the Dusty Trail
Snack Break at the Intersection of the Cougar Trail
I was starting to bonk out from the march on out…simply ignoring the little hunger pangs in my stomach. I asked the others to stop to break on the trail for a quick snack and drink.
Rounding the Crest of the Hill into Greener Surroundings
Passing by the Car Campers at Manzanita Group Camp Site
Easy Cruising on the Manzanita Point Road
Walking by a number of car camping sites, we were surprised to see that cars were being allowed out on the road for regular campsites. Typically, vehicles were only allowed on the road for the group sites and only two "support" vehicles per group site. Anyway, this only meant that we had to move to the side of the road as the occasional car drove by.
Hiking Out the Way We Came In
Driving to a Nearby Town for a Hot Meal
Scott Enjoys a Cold One
Nadesdye Digs In
Jeremy's Carries On the Post Hike Tradition
Other Photo Essays by Tony:
Special Video Made by EJ Documenting the 2011 GGG
Backpackers Gone Wild: BPL 3rd Annual SF Bay Area Gathering of Gear Geeks (GGG) Jan 26-27, 2011.
Photo Essay by Linda Vassallo: Mt Whitney Summit Hike: A photo essay
Trip Report & Article by Jeremy Pendrey: Hiking The Diablo Trail: A Conservation Success Story
Photography and Backpacking Article on Hike It. Like It.Jun 9, 2015 at 4:07 pm #2205826Daniel SweeneyBPL Member
Thanks for the awesome report and photos. Looks like a nice area. Probably good you didn't go all the way up to the trinity alps that weekend, the weather was fine but there were at least 50 people camping up at Caribou Lakes.
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