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106. Coyote Peak (02/13/99)

Hikers (11): Beth, Christina H, Eugene, Hoa, Jane M, Le, Peter, Sally, Sean, Steve, Taylor
Distance: 7 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 7 beauty
Park info: Santa Teresa County Park in South San Jose

Write-up by Peter

It was a dark and stormy night .... no, actually it was a warm and sunny day in February. I had advertized this as an easy hike (so I could pick up a cheap leaf on Rusty while he was out of town) and this brought the newbies out in force -- Sally (Cleopatra) and a couple more of the famous Hong sisters, to be exact. Welcome!

1, 2, 3 ... INCH!

Coyote Peak is located in southern part of San Jose, close to Morgan Hill, yet it seems worlds away. Peace and quiet, and not a dot-com in sight! Just the sort of place to cure the post-Super Bowl blues.

We parked in the western section of the park (near IBM) and set out on our journey. The first couple of miles were mostly flat terrain, and we walked at a leisurely pace. The sounds of women chattering away filled the air (so much for the solitude)! Pretty soon, we ran into muddy trail -- the winter rains had made their mark and we were up to our ankles in glop. Good shiggy!

We reached a horse corral and soon thereafter the trail began to head uphill. It was good to finally gain some elevation! We began the climb, and people soon began to spread out. Unsociable Steve was out in front by himself, followed closely by Sean. Muffy, Taylor, and Jane were up ahead of me. I could tell they were gossiping wildly from their hand gestures (and every once in a while there would be an "Oh, my God!" or a "Really???"), so I stayed well back. Eugene was bringing up the rear with Sally and the Hong sisters. Finally -- some peace and quiet! Yessssss!

The trail became steeper as we got closer to the peak. I could see the antennas at the top, but somehow I did not seem to be getting closer. I was really breathing heavily now, but I did not want to stop. Just to rub it in, the trail dipped downwards at this point, forcing us to go down and then come back up before making the final ascent.

The last quarter-mile will have you huffing and puffing, but the view from the top is well worth it. I caught up with the front-runners sitting on a bench enjoying a nice view of Silicon Valley on a clear February day. Sometimes this place is not so bad after all!

We sat there for a long time ... people shared snacks and actually seemed to enjoy each other's company! No-one wanted to leave. But all good things must come to an end (I'm talking about the snacks), and we eventually packed up and began to head back.

The trail back was easy -- downhill or flat all the way -- but seemed to take forever ... we walked through some wooded areas, along a golf course, crossed the road that had brought us into the park, meandered along parallel to the road on a wide trail, crossed back over the road and finally back to the parking lot.

Everyone was pretty much worn out by the time we got back to the car, so it was a day well spent! The only casualty was Sally, who peeled off her shoe to reveal a sock-full of blood. Thankfully Dr. Eugene was there to administer First Aid (the guy is a walking pharmacy), so we didn't have to amputate. Welcome to INCH, Sally!

Milestones:
Christina H's 1st leaf
Sally's 1st leaf
Sean's 1st leaf
Taylor's 70th leaf



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