Sunday, August 9th, 2009

MTB: Henry Coe on a Summer Day

When we arrive at the Hunting Hollow Parking Lot, there are only two vehicles. The big lot looks very deserted. I wonder if we have missed any important announcements such as the park has be closed to public. Oh well, we drop four dollars into the collection box nonetheless and roll off to Hunting Hollow Fire Road.

The few creek crossings that got my bike and shoes wet on the last ride are bone dry this time. I like it this way.  Soon comes the intersection with Lyman Willson Ridge Trail and we turn left there.  This is our second time climbing it. Last time, I stopped after the steep pitch to wait for Erik behind me, but it did allow me to take a break. I have decided to try to do it in one shot this time. The climb is sustanined enough for me to stay in my granny gear, but it has enough kick backs that I can catch up with breath after the exertion on the steep pitches, so I keep going. The sweat mixed with sun block, DEET, and Poison Oak Guard that I smeared on myself before the ride drips down into my eyes, mouth, and then gathers below my chin before flowing off. The air feels more dry than hot, and it irritates my nostrils. But suddenly I have start cruising downhill — the climb is behind me now and I did it without putting a foot down. I feel good.

We turn left on the Bowl Trail this time — which is a first for the both of us. It turns out to be a fun one — lots of rolling hills that seem like a perfect setup for interval trainings. We then turn right on Middle Steer Ridge Trail, again a first for the both of us. It is again a sustained climb, but this section is short enough that it’s over very soon.

Topping out on the trail, we see endless rolling hills with Mt. Diablo standing in a distance. It feels as if we have the entire world to ourselves. The sweat vaporizing in the gentle breeze brings a cool sensation to the body. I will not mind if the day never ends.

We heads towards Spike Jones Trail because we always like riding down Timm Trail. I manage to hop a few jumps, but I roll the most of them and ride around a couple of them. I hope to be able to jump all of them someday.

We also have another trail in mind that we want to explore — the Cullen Trail, which cuts over from Grizzly Gulch Trail to Anza Trail. I wonder why I have never heard anything talk about riding it. As soon as we get on it, it becomes obvious that the trail is not well traveled. After a short distance riding through tall grass and on a narrow path, we come to a steep hill. Then more steep hills keep coming. The very narrow paths are either lined with tall thorny grass or covered with a thick layer of dry slippery foliage. I can barely get any traction while pushing the bike up. Some switchbacks are ridiculously sharp and steep. For all I can tell, this trail is not built for human beings. When we finally arrive at Anza Trail, I throw my bike down on the ground and spend a full half hour picking the burrs off of my shoes, socks, shin pads, and shorts. It is very meditating. Erik claims that now Cullen Trail is his favorite trail now just because it is raw and he wishes he could return to it every weekend. I suspect he is not thinking straight because of the heat.

By now, both of our water bladders are running low and we have not packed a water pump. (Obviously, we were not thinking straight this morning.) A fun and easy cruise down Anza Trail leads us to the Coit Road. That takes us back to our car. We just had a very pleasant ride at Henry Coe on a summer day.

A tree with twisted spirit.

A down tree on Bowl Trail

Hello world!

A down tree on Grizzly Gulch Trail

A tree branch on Cullen Trail. Notice the thick foliage?

Can you tell the trail is steep?


I’ve never seen the parking lot so empty

For all photos, go to the gallery.

One Response

  1. Alison Chaikenon 11 Aug 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I have backpacked on those trails before but never biked them. Be sure to look out for rattlesnakes.

    I know that “I wish I would never arrive at the end of this trail” feeling well. The Trinity Alps are particularly beautiful, and hiking there I often thought, “I want to stay in this moment forever and never reach the end!”