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91. Coit Lake (10/24/98)

Hikers (6): Eugene, Jane M, Peter, Pistol Pete, Russ, Steve
Distance: 10 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Henry Coe State Park east of Morgan Hill

Write-up by Russ

This was the 2nd attempt by the INCH to reach the cursed Coit Lake. The previous attempt was a disaster where 6 people set out and only one actually made it to the lake. This time there would be no rides and no turning back!

It was a dark and stormy night ... actually it was the morning that looked dark and ominous. Being the careful person that I am, I suggested that we cancel the hike. The Man wasn't having any of that and insisted that the hike continue as planned. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. INCH was starting to become synonymous with disaster.

1, 2, 3, ... INCH!

The hike started off fine. There were a few drops, but nothing that the intrepid hikers couldn't handle. No sooner did we do the INCH cheer than the rain started to fall. For once everyone was prepared for the weather and out came the rain gear. I even had my snazzy Goretex jacket and it was time to see if it really worked.

As before, we started with the Anza trail and climbed up a series of switchbacks. The rain was definitely coming down, but we were enjoying the challenge. This part actually was fairly challenging and the footing wasn't the greatest. Luckily this was one of the first rains of the season, so the ground wasn't saturated yet. Hours go by and the novelty of hiking in the rain is starting to wear thin. I know that I had my fill of it after the first mile. The Man is walking around having the time of his life. Times like this make me want to toss him off a cliff.

After what seemed an eternity, The Man and I reached the top of the ridge. Esteban and Pistol Pete were ahead while Eugene and Jane were behind. At this point the weather was even enough for The Man and he decided that we should cut the hike short. I was all for it. So while The Man waited for Eugene and Jane, I trudged on to try to catch up to Esteban and Pistol Pete.

After about another half mile, I saw them in the distance. I couldn't wait to get close enough to tell them that we were going to cut this miserable hike short. Then I realized that they were at the part of the trail that we took when we got lost last time. Oh god, that means I could have to chase after them and bring them back. Who knows how long that would take? Forget that. So I started yelling at them hoping they would hear me. They just kept on walking. Darn it. Now I was thinking how long I would try to go before I let them figure out on their own that they were going the wrong way. I'll worry about that later and try to catch them before they got too far ahead. Suddenly, I saw they were walking back my way. What a relief. Pistol Pete told me that he heard me and had brought Esteban back with him. Luckily I realized that they were heading the wrong way before it was too late. And The Man says that I never learn.

We waited for a while at the junction of Jackson Trail and Wasno Road for the rest of the gang to catch up. I was telling Esteban and Pistol Pete that we were cutting the hike short. They were calling us wimps and all that. I told them that they could go on and I would wait for them in the car. I definitely had enough of rain and mud for one day.

About ten minutes later we saw Eugene coming down the trail. When Eugene caught up to us, we asked him how far back The Man and Jane were. He said, "They are way back and I'm not waiting around for them to show up." And he started walking off, like he had a plane to catch. So now Eugene thinks he is the master hiker. We looked back and sure enough The Man and Jane were coming around the bend. Eugene was just barely ahead of them. So much for the master hiker.

Once together, we decided (after much complaining) that we would turn back after all. It was still another 6 miles back to the car, but that didn't stop certain people from wanting to go all the way to Coit Lake.

The trip back was mostly uneventful. The rain did let up somewhat, but it was enough to keep us miserable. Eugene, master hiker, did manage to have a leg cramp while removing a rock from his shoe. That provided quite a bit of amusement for the rest of us in an otherwise dreary hike. We were quite relieved to end this failed attempt to reach Coit Lake. As a group, we are determined that the INCH will one day reach Coit Lake.

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