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Comebackwalking - Other Trail Journal - 2008

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Begins: Dec 12, 2008
Direction: Eastbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Apr 18th, 2009
Start: Park HQ
End: Park HQ
Daily Distance: 11
Trip Distance: 47.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 131
Journal Visits: 228
Guestbook Views: 2
Guestbook Entrys: 0

Henry Coe Paradise Lake

4/18/09-4/21/09 Henry Coe->Rat Spring->Paradise Lake->Mississippi Lake solo 45 miles
I just exchanged pack for a new one after a zipper blow-out on the vertical smile zipper. I should have been gentler. I stuffed that pig shamefully. All for a package of apricots. Now I have a new pack. 3 cheers for REI.
I'll buy the Z65 a couple years from now. The Z55 you can't pack any extra unneeded items. I packed a little too much on my most recent trip.
45 miles over 4 days with 3 nights out at Henry Coe State Park.
The heat was up, like it always is when I go to Coe, and my heat rash started on the first day after about six miles in the hot sun, with another mile and a half up Willow Spring Ridge and another mile and a half down into Rat Springs besides the upper reaches of Pacheco Creek. I stopped for the night after 9.3 miles in because my feet hurt in my new boots; the pack was holding the load funny digging into my back a red raw nickel sized wound.
The next day was all new Coe dusty because it was the first time Ive been able to go more than 1 day away from the car. And the distant Coe dusty was very Coe-like. It had all the attributes and defining characteristics and inside jokes. It was a long way to look for water. So I popped a can of peaches in light water when I was about 7 miles past the last water with only running puddles intermittently occurring in Orestimba Creek. Finally I filtered up about 4 quarts of my own puddle water. You'd a done no different. And I still had many miles to make it out to Paradise Flats after my earlier trip through Poverty Flats on day 1.
And it was a Monday afternoon and I kept at it until I needed a .3 mile detour to Paradise Lake campsite.
(To be continued)
So I had a first afternoon hike of 9.3 to get me down into Rat Springs with the onset of heat rash-blankie sauce blues. And then it was 13.5 to get way back in the back of the beyond, just below the Rooster Comb and into Paradise Lake. Where I just sat there and tightened up. I sat out of the sun and kept moving to follow the shade before pitching my tent beneath a blackbird tree beside the boggy, cottontail thick Paradise Lake. Eventually I scrambled the last two eggs and served them on a quesadilla. And this was after a pastrami sandwich. My rash made any hiking painful but I did filter water and rehydrate myself and more or less keep things straight. Then two bikers showed up. Loaded up panniers. They were full of energy, they came over and introduced themselves and they hooted and hollered it up the way a solo hiker doesn't. It was definitely a long way to travel to have to share camping privileges but I wasn't going to say anything. And I wasn't going to walk anywhere or get into the sun. I was just into airing myself out and napping. The next morning I talked to them while drinking coffee and I asked them to look at the raw spot on my tailbone. They told me to get a bandaid for it or they'd find one for me. I had a knuckle bandage and I let those strange men bandage my tailbone.

The next morning I had an 8 mile hike to Mississippi Lake with 2.5 miles of that being the unmaintained Hartman Trail in the exact right direction shaving off all sorts of miles and dropping me off at Mississippi Lake--my favorite campsite--with the ducks and all, the picnic table, the outhouse, the sweet water to be filtered and drank. The hiking was tortuous. Each step hurt the way that rashes and hiking don't mix. The picnic table was a great place to air out and drink Johnny Walker red. And eventually eat a freeze dried salmon and pesto pasta dinner that I had wanted to see gone for years.

I woke up late at 7am the next morning and hit the trail by 7:49 pm. Instead of taking the Willow Springs ridge rollercoaster I followed the Dog Springs/Canteen Springs trail down until I was back at Rat Springs and ready to carry up and over Willow Springs ridge.

On the way down, in the middle of a poison oak thicket I found myself with a bobcat, and a bobcat kitten. The bobcat looked like a cross between a cat and a dog. It was long like dog but the body was thin like a cat and the legs were short and it turned around its head and I saw the iconic bobcat face. It was like seeing the Joker in a campy Batman and Robin. And then it climbed 50 feet away and about 20 feet higher and it stretched up standing on its two legs with its front two on a log and I could its bobcat facial profile. I backed off and got out Bendee--my trekking pole-- and I tried to go around the cub but the poison oak had me hemmed in and I wasn't going to thrash through poison oak. So I actually stepped right over the frightened kitten, about the size of a volleyball, with some blue/purple fur otherwise spotted. And then whistling "Oh! Christmas Tree" as loud as I could and I disappeared.

The rest of the way was tough. I drank up the last three quarts over the last seven miles. The temperature was 90F degrees. The last 1.9 miles was epic, tired imaginings that youre done but theres still that last mile.

Overall great trip. But I let a rash get out of control. Come to think of itI dont have a good track record for trips 3 days or longer at 80 degrees or higher. At the end of this trip I was in no position to keep hiking. Now I've cut holes into a Gatorade lid and I'm practicing 1 qt showers back at Tonopah Ct so that in the future I can improve my woodcraft through improved hygiene.

9 ticks. None of them had a chance to get established. I think a couple fell from the trees in my hair, on my neck, and the other rascals were on my socks and lower legs.
Tick checks were frequent and thorough and really keep on the lookout. No big deal. And there were also small flies and mosquitoes. I used concentrated deet liberally on my skin and clothes hand, head, neck and lower legs.

I felt strong. I didn't feel strong. My new boots worked. My feet had blisters. The old pack has been traded in. I didn't get any pictures. The trip had that air of greatness about it. The wildflowers were unbelievable. I saw my first wild cat. And when it was all over I had a painful limp.

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Henry Coe Mississippi Lake

Other Trail is located off the beaten path, somewhere between the soles of your feet and your imagination.


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