October 15, 2018 / 7 miles /
… not to mention turkey cow deer pig. Saw them all today. Well, not the coyote. Or the bear. But I rode in Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park, which they refer to as Coyote Bear.
I’ve been meaning to try riding at Coyote Bear for years. Some folks I know on a recumbent site told me about it a while ago.
It was about a half hour drive from home to the visitor center, but I took closer to an hour because once I got off the freeway I drove slowly through the back roads. Just south of San Jose and just off the major freeway it gets rural really fast. I discovered among the small ranches and house lots that there are not one but TWO polo clubs. Rural, but not lower class.
Not too long ago the 4600 acres of the ranch were added to Coyote Lake Park, a strip of land that allowed people to enjoy boating and fishing on the reservoir owned by the local water district. The ranch land has been ranch land since the Spanish arrived and carved up the area with land grants and ranchos. Harvey Bear’s family were the last owners, and they deeded it to the county. More local history at this link: https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=18528.
I stopped at the ranger station to ask about the less-strenuous trails. At her suggestion I went to the campground lot to park close to the trailhead. As I parked a woman came up and asked if I could go back to the ranger station – she didn’t have a car, she said, and I guess she didn’t feel like walking 200 yards – to tell the rangers about the man in site 12 who was ranting. I heard him myself. He was on something. So I drove back to the rangers, reported him, then drove back, this time past the campground to a roadside pullout.
I decided not to ride with a pannier this time, to lessen weight a bit, and that turned out to create a minor problem. I have one water bottle cage, which was occupado. I couldn’t carry my tea bottle since my trunk bag was full. So to fulfill coffeeneuring requirements I drank some tea at the car before departing for the trailhead.
I started up the trail and within about 20 feet I was defeated. Soil and gravel and pitch were just too loose and steep for me and my tires. I couldn’t get enough traction. Looking up the trail, it wasn’t going to get any easier. Grrr. I decided I didn’t want to work that hard, and besides, the paved road was not the straight flat lakeside road I thought it would be. I retreated.
The road, as it turned out, had hardly any straight or level areas. It was quite the little rollercoaster, no rises too steep or long, definitely fun. I had occasional views of the lake, some nice shady areas, and a fair amount of wildlife.
So. About those wild pigs. They’re fine from a distance and as long as they’re little. However, it’s not okay to almost run into a boar that’s standing in the middle of the road. Both of us startled. I stopped and backed off as he grunted a lot and ran off into the trees. I did not hear him go very far in though. I rode back just a little ways, debating options. I didn’t want to be charged by an irate boar, but then I wasn’t gonna be deterred by no stinking pig. So I started talking very loudly, clicked my gears, and dinged my clear brass bell. The bell did it, funnily enough. I heard him rustling off further away. I pedaled as fast as I could past that spot. Phew.
I decided to stop ambling and start riding faster. Good thing. Another pig family was not too far away just off the road. They scattered as I flew by.
So with my heart rate elevated I careened down to the end of the road and then through another cattle gate. Just inside it was a sign warning about mountain lions. I know that! I just don’t need to be reminded of it just at this moment.
Through that cattle gate was the other end of the trail I had hoped to ride. I rode on to see what it looked like up there.
It was great to ride just that little bit and be there on a quiet weekday. I spent as long as I could there just enjoying the place. On the ride back I encountered the same pig families but everyone behaved themselves and I was pedaling really fast.
Once at home I looked at the posting from the other trikers who told me about this park. The posting was from 2009(!). And it said their route took them past Harvey Bear, not that they rode there. Ha on me and my memory.