Henry Coe State Park: Dowdy Ranch, Pacheco Crossing, Bell Station

On the first day after Daylight Savings Time ended, I was on the road at 6:00AM towards Henry Coe State Park.

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“Pavement Ends” means “Adventure Ahead”!

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The sun, across Highway 152, peeking through the fog, just after sunrise

The lesser-known entrance from Bell Station, followed by 7 miles of gravel road, to the Dowdy Ranch Visitor’s Center, is open on summer weekends to vehicles. Off-season and weekdays, it’s open 24/7 for hikers and cyclists, and a few ranchers that own property up here.

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The sun is low as I begin my journey up the gated road

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48 degrees and foggy, but it clears and warms-up!

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7 miles, plus 1000+ feet of climbing brings me to the Dowdy Ranch Visitor’s Center. Haven’t seen anyone yet except for one rancher who waved as he passed me in his truck

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The seldom-used Visitor’s Center, built in 2006

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..and a damaged sign, leaning against the fence. Notice the big old Widow Maker, hiding behind!

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…and the soon-to-be-famous “Purple Panther”

After looking around Dowdy Ranch a bit, I headed downhill, to the north, to Pacheco Creek Crossing. There was a moderate rainfall about 3 days prior. There were some signs that water flowed through the big undercrossing pipe, but definitely not enough to create any real flow…

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Probably some dribbling during the rain, but the pool below was still quite low and way below “flowing”

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The creekbed to the west, towards the falls, was completely dry, The leaves are turning!

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Almost empty and ~8 feet below “full and flowing”

Lower now than back in January!

https://alpharoaming.com/2014/01/20/henry-coe-state-park-pacheco-crossing-dowdy-ranch-bell-station/

In April the “Hole in the Rock” waterfall was full and barely flowing (when it should have been gushing)  https://alpharoaming.com/2014/04/20/dowdy-dormida/

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Above the falls: a few scattered small pools on rock surfaces

After inspecting the Pacheco Creek Crossing area, I slogged back up to Dowdy Ranch. I again passed Tiedown Peak, which was taunting me from my previous “never going back there” experience.  https://alpharoaming.com/2012/09/26/rattlesnake-adrenaline-rush-tie-down-peak-at-henry-coe/

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As I passed Dowdy Ranch, I noticed the gate was now open, so I went to investigate. I happened to be there at the right time to have a short conversation with Ranger Cameron Bowers and 2 other cyclists. After that, it was time to head back to Bell Station.

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15 mph on a downhill in the middle of nowhere?!? “Officer, my bicycle can’t go that slow!”

A great “zoom-zoom” downhill 7 miles back to the car (with 2 small climbs). Try it sometime! http://www.coepark.net

The 19 mile and 3200 vertical feet track: http://www.strava.com/activities/214835381

 

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About AlphaRoaming

Random outdoor roaming: hiking, cycling, camping, backpacking & plotting more of the above Grew up on the edges of the Adirondack mountains of New York, just a bit west of Vermont. Now living in Silicon Valley and venturing out when and where I can!
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