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Monday, May 6, 2013

A Return to Henry Coe State Park: The Rooster Comb

The Rooster Comb
The view of the Rooster Comb from the Hartman Trail was so compelling on our last adventure to Henry Coe State Park, we returned just a few weeks later.

We arrived late on a Friday night around 9 PM. It was dark, windy and very cold, right around freezing. The bathroom of the visitor center was our staging ground due to the heat provided. That first night we headed down Povery Flat Road to Poverty Flat. Surprisingly, it was quite warm down in the valley.

We were rewarded by our campsite selection during our last trip by staying away from valleys and choosing east-facing sections of ridgeline.

The Narrows were as gorgeous as ever as we headed through on Saturday morning.

The Narrows
From Los Cruzeros we traversed the Willow Ridge Trail to Willow Ridge Rd. At Mississippi Lake we hopped on the the beautiful Hartman Trail and took it to Orestimba Creek Rd. Following Orestimba Creek Rd. north we eventually joined the Rooster Comb Trail.

Orestimba Creek Rd. with the Rooster Comb in the background
Cooling off at the swimming hole
The Rooster Comb Summit Trail is a very loose route and the scramble was a lot of fun. We had a great time bouldering on the Comb's prominent features.

After sunset we backtracked to Orestimba Creek Rd. and camped at Paradise Flat. That night, cold air descended into the valley and the temperatures dipped into the high twenties.

Morning in Paradise Flat
It was a frigid morning but by midday the temperatures were soaring. We followed Paradise Flat Rd. to the seldom maintained Chaparral Trail. 

The Chaparral Trail
Up on County Line Rd. we discovered a horned toad and a wonderful series of cougar tracks.

Horned Toad

Cougar Tracks
We finished up our journey with a trip down Bear Mountain Rd. and back to the Narrows Trail. Down in the wash below Bear Mountain the temperature must have been in the 80's, a 60 degree swing from the morning. We cooled our bodies in Coyote creek and made sure to intensely hydrate before the last push up Poverty Flat Rd. We finished up with the Forest Trail to the Corral Trail. Once again, we had another fantastic trip in Henry Coe State Park. Next time we'll have to check out the southern portion of this amazing park.

One parting note: Thank you Sada Coe for preserving and donating this land in your father's name. This park should be renamed in your honor.

Total Mileage: 42.4 

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