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438. Coyote Peak (03/19/05)

Hikers (11): Blinky, Dinesh, Edita, Eugene, George, Julie, Peter, Ross, Sabine, Steve, Walter
Distance: 7 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Santa Teresa County Park in South San Jose

Write-up by Steve

The plan was to do a quick 8 mile loop since we knew it would rain. It pretty much ended up being exactly that, except for the naked killer--but we have to start at the beginning.

The Intel carpool was unusually successful, with six people showing up. We took two cars and got to the trailhead fifteen minutes early. Walt and Peter were already there, the latter snoozing in his hooptie. The last car to arrive held George and Blinky, and they had to park on the side of the road because we had filled the entire (small) lot. The main parking lot, designed to hold 50+ cars, was completely empty.

1, 2, 3. . .INCH!

It was a cold and rainy day. Actually, it wasn't too cold due to everyone wearing rain gear (except The Man, who manages to get wet even on dry hikes, so sees little use for protection). Down Stile Ranch Trail we went, and back up Fortini Trail we returned. This was a different route than we've taken in the past, and the inclines and declines along the trail were surprisingly gentle--this is a good park for easy (but enjoyable) hikes.

We continued down Rock Ridge and conquered Coyote Peak in no time. No time for Ross, Sabine, Edita, Walt, and myself, at least. The rest took their own sweet time. That was no problem, as it provided plenty of time to find a geocache on a nearby peak (which was a side motivation for picking this particular hike).

We enjoyed the views (the skies cleared up a little) while Julie K slowly ate Granny Smith apples dipped in natural peanut butter. This combination, she assured us, was nirvana, and substitution of the peanut butter with, say, Skippy, would be sacrilegious. We waited for her to finish most of it before declaring an official end to eating. . .and we're off!

The hike had been easy, but we had all managed to get quite muddy. Along the way, we ran across a bobcat, which walked ahead of us for a bit. A delighted Edita tried to chase it down, undoubtedly to give it a big cuddly hug, but it dodged (bobed?) off trail and down the side of the hill.

A little later we ran into a cuddly fellow of a different sort: a large guy with an "old style" walkie-talkie. He asked if we had seen anyone in a green shirt run by who had escaped from him. "No, but I can't imagine anyone running around here," I said, thinking he was kidding about the running on the muddy ground. A little bit later, after crossing Bernal Road, we ran into another guy, carrying the same style of walkie-talkie, and wearing a dark green shirt. I said, "Hey, we saw your friend right up the trail." He didn't seem particularly surprised or excited.

We continued on Mine Trail and came across a bright green running suit and some other clothes strewn along the path. . .Apparently someone had discarded their clothes along the trail. That's when the lights went off--those guys were looking for a third person who had actually escaped! Now that we had found the clothes, it was clear there was a naked killer out there skulking in the bushes (watch out for the poison oak, buddy. . .and the bobcats).

We made it back to the car without incident (darn). We wrung out our clothes and said our good-byes. On the way out, we passed two police cars coming up the hill, which confirmed our theory. We didn't see any naked hitchhikers, though. Checked the Mercury News, but no reports of escaped convicts. That means he (or she) could still be out there, prowling nakedly around Santa Teresa County Park. Beware!

Naked News Update: Our resident kids-gone-bad expert Sparky reports in with the facts:

Dobby was awarded a Black Leaf of Shame for his pathetic eco-damaging short cutting.

Julie's 1st leaf

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