Henry Coe – Arnold Horse Camp & Bear Mountain Peak

Michael and I took advantage of the unusually cool weather to do a two night backpacking trip into Henry W. Coe State Park. Arnold Horse Camp was our base camp. The water there was intermittently dripping, but enough to keep the trough mostly full. We did about 30 miles and 6000 feet, in total, including a visit to Bear Mountain Peak, and the obscure Little Long Canyon. Perfect weather!

The end! (Exact route and tracks available on Strava.com. July 1-3, 2022.)

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Preston’s Candy: 75 years in Burlingame

I recently read about this 75 year old candy store, which I’d never heard of before! https://www.sfgate.com/food/article/Bay-Area-Prestons-Candy-faces-closure-17152476.php

They’ve been in downtown Burlingame, in the same spot for generations. I decided to pay them visit!

Besides being interested in local history, in an area where businesses and buildings are routinely replaced with new ones, I saw Black Raspberry ice cream on their Yelp page!

You can find them on Instagram @PrestonsBroadway and at https://prestons-candy.webflow.io where they’ve started a monthly subscription program to help them become more financially stable.

Stop and visit sometime!

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Pico Blanco Scout Camp is for sale

So, yeah, I’ve had a journey up Palo Colorado Road, to Pico Blanco Scout Camp, on my radar for awhile. It’s been closed for about 5 years, due to fire damage, and a washed-out road. It’s now FOR SALE!

I guess I better get going, and see it before it changes, or becomes off-limits!

There’s a gate, 4 miles from Highway 1. From there it’s about 3.5 miles to Bottcher’s Gap and 4 miles further to the Scout Camp…and about 1300 feet of climbing in each direction!

Road intersection, at the gate, where we parked
Sign at Bottcher’s Gap

The camp is in great condition, from what I can see. We were told there was an on-site caretaker, but we saw no signs of anyone.

The Aquatics area, with a lifeguard chair

The caretaker at Bottcher’s Gap told us that there’s been quite a bit of vehicle traffic to the camp. He believes the property showing is complete, and the Scout Council is reviewing offers. It will be interesting to see…

We also had an interesting discussion about the endangered Dudley’s Lousewort and the Santa Lucia Fir. I’ve seen Dudley’s at Portola Redwoids State Park, but didn’t spot any here. The beautiful, and very rare, Santa Lucia Fir was visible on the steep hillsides, as well as one in the Bottcher’s Gap parking lot

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Mt Sizer (Henry Coe) overnight! #SixPackOfPeaks

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Death Valley in the snow!

So back about a month ago, I did a tour, with two friends, of the Death Valley area. Petroglyphs and old cabins were the highlight!

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Dick Wright grave -Clear Creek

During my recent visit to Clear Creek, I made a quick side trip, just before sunset, to visit Dick Wright. He was a local hermit, who lived in a crude cabin here. When he didn’t show-up in town for awhile, a local rancher went to check on him. Buried him near the cabin!

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Joaquin Rocks – Clear Creek

Yeah, it’s been awhile! Sitting down at a desk and blogging is much more of a chore than Facebooking! I have the WordPress app on my phone, so this will be quick and easy!

Got my two permits on-line, and the gate code was wrong! Burned a few hours and $20 in gas getting to a phone signal, to call the BLM.

About 25 miles to the eastern end of the park, after a short detour to the Benitoite Gem Mine.

Cooler than expected, at 4000 feet!

I slept in the Subie at 4000 feet. I was happy to be wearing three layers, and two sleeping bags!

Thats about it! Long drive in the Subie, and a 7 mile round-trip hike. I was buzzed by a scruffy old ex-Coast Guard chopper, for some reason!

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Henry Coe overnight: an unburned cabin & Kickham Ranch

As of last year, I had visited three cabins in Henry Coe State Park that were not on the map. Seeing that two of them burned last year, I thought I might visit the last one, once again, before it’s too late! This third one is even less accessible and surrounded by more trees and brush. It’s doomed the next time there’s a fire near Grizzly Gulch and Grizzly Falls. If the State thinks it’s worth protecting from the public, why isn’t it worth protecting from fire?

After visiting the cabin, I proceeded on to Willson Camp for the night. It’s a great spot, with views, a shady table, water, toilet, and an AT&T signal

My route back to Hunting Hollow was via Kickham Ranch. It’s not openly encouraged to enter/exit the park this way, but there are no signs forbidding it. You’ll have to climb one gate, which forbids “Unauthorized Vehicles” on one side of the gate.

So, yeah, until there is an effort to protect the remaining unmarked cabin from fire, it seems ridiculous to hide it from the public. (I won’t be publishing any more location details, and please don’t add it in the comments. You can find the cabin with some research, including old PRA documents.)

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30 Hours in Henry Coe bikepacking

I spent 30 hours in Henry W. Coe State Park, including an overnight at Pacheco Camp, and visiting an unmarked historic cabin that burned.

I saw one backpacker, and a handful of cyclists. I also passed across the dam at Coit Lake, after dark, and chatted with 2 or 3 backpackers who were set up there. The burn areas are very spotty. Some areas are completely scorched, and some are a patchwork of lightly burned, and unburned. Most areas are already sprouting green shoots!

The cabin really should have had some proactive clearing of brush and flammables, way before the fire. (If it’s worth protecting from the public, it should be worth protecting from fire.) There is another old cabin in Coe that is similarly a “sitting duck” for the next big fire. Thankfully Pacheco Camp was saved, partly due to flammables clearing and vehicle access.

Still need to work on my gear, including front racks
Gilroy Hot Springs cabins
Coit Horse Camp
Pig damage
Mahoney Pond
Mahoney Cabin. It was kept secret by park management, but no brush clearing was done. If it was worth protecting from the public, why was it not worth protecting from fire?
Photo from 2010, courtesy of “Skyline 35” on Strava. (Notice the metal washtubs to the right, then look at the previous picture.)
The most desolate spot. The burn was not this thorough in most areas.
Entering Kelly Cabin Canyon
I planned on travelling after dark on the fire roads, with good lighting. What else am I gonna do with 10 hours of darkness?
White Tank Spring
The shower house
Frosty morning at Pacheco Camp!
Drying my sleeping bag and tent fly on the porch. My bike is leaning against the table.
Pacheco Falls
Mirror image!
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Backpacking unburned area in Henry Coe State Park

Last wednesday I did an overnight at Henry Coe State Park. I wanted to replace a few Geocaches and give my new 0F degree sleeping bag another test. I also thought the park would not be fully open for months. It opened a few days later!

Lotsa pig damage, under every oak tree!
Big fields of Shooting Stars between Willson Peak and Grizzly Gulch
Just above Willson Camp, where I stayed that night

That’s it! Park is fully opened. Enjoy it before it gets hot! (Parking will be an issue on weekends.)

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