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815. Kelly Lake Loop (01/28/12)

Hikers (21): Alan, Amy D, Clive, David, George, Hailong, Harvey, Helen, Iris, Jeff, Karl, Kirk, Linda L, Peter, Robert, Rudi, Sabine, Shuli, Sophie, Stacy, Steve
Distance: 22 miles
Rating: 5 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Henry Coe State Park east of Morgan Hill

Write-up by George and Peter -- Pictures by Karl, Alan W, and Harvey

A nice brisk 30 degrees at the outset ... don't worry, you'll warm up real fast!

1, 2, 3 ... INCH!

Happy Birthday Jeff! I hope you enjoyed Big Henry's gift.

The Steer Ridge starts out steep, and then gets steeper

Is everyone awake yet?

Big Henry was just getting warmed up

George's notes: Despite working late and not getting a lot of sleep, I really enjoyed the hike. Not only was the weather perfect, but we hit a number of new trails, at least for me anyway. A few highlights:

Navigating the creek heading towards Kelly Cabin Trail

Some of us got to see Coit Lake too!

Beautiful Kelly Lake!

There's still a long way to go!

Finally! It's all downhill from here (but still painful) ...

All smiles as they know they are near the end

The party at the end makes it all worthwhile

Peter's notes: I pretty much did the same trail as George described above -- a lot of wrong turns and backtracking along Grapevine, Cross Canyon overlooking Coit Lake, etc. Man, what a day! Karl had 22 miles and 6400 feet on his GPS, so I think I must have done 24 miles and over 7000 feet. I ran out of food and water around mile 17. My back was killing me and I had forgotten to bring my Ibuprofen, so I had to keep stopping to lie down every mile or so. What a friggin' disaster! I was praying for Big Henry to just kill me and get it over with, but, of course, the Master Sadist would not oblige.

I finally got back to HH a little before 6pm as darkness was falling. I felt a little rejuvenated by then as the temps had cooled and I had walked through the water crossings for the last half mile to give some relief to my aching feet. I was ready to give it a Level 6, but most people had had an easier time than me, so I "downgraded" it to a high 5! Of course, Steve said it was "easy". I guess after 650 hikes, everything's easy. Congrats, old man!

Steve's 650th leaf

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