Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Henry Coe State Park

You seek solitude? California's second largest state park, Henry Coe is only an hour's drive from the heart of Silicon Valley, but on a Monday in November, you might as well be in the Trinity wilderness or the middle of the Mojave. It's not a spectacular landscape, but spectacular is not why you are here. As you tramp up and down the folded ridges, you picture a California before the settlers, before even the internet. The tree-sized manzanitas, with their voluptuous whorls and knots; a mint blossom that has no idea what month it is; a varied thrush alighting in a black oak, its leaves muted gold. Before the settlers, these Eurasian grasses would all have been forbs and native bunch grasses, like the patch of blue-green California fescue that has somehow reclaimed the top of Middle Ridge. You will return.

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