Monday, April 17, 2017

W6/NC-174 Wasno Ridge

Spring is the best time for hiking in the Bay Area, especially after a wet winter. It was my off Friday, so I headed down to Henry Coe SP to do some activations and see the flowers in bloom. My goal was to do a loop and get Wasno Ridge and Wilson Peak, two of the seven SOTA peaks in the park. I got up early so that I could get a spot at the end of the road, where there is limited parking. To get up Wasno Ridge I decided to take a slightly longer route that was less steep, via the Anza and Jackson Trails. I started out along Coit Road, moving quickly to stay warm in the cool morning.
Looking back along the Coyote Creek valley.
There had been a little rain this week, but the trails were fairly dry. My feet got more wet from the dew on the grass than any puddles or mud. I reached the junction with the Anza Trail and started to head uphill in earnest. The trails I took have many switchbacks, sometimes to the point where it seems like there are too many, but I won't complain.
Through a meadow on the way up.
The Jackson Trail climbs up the west side of Wasno Ridge, and there are nice views once you get above most of the trees. At the next intersection there is a large open area, with a spur down to a spring. From here it is a short distance to the high point of the ridge. From this area there were also views to the north. Hamilton Observatory was easy to see, as well as Coe Ranch and a few other SOTA peaks.
Green grass and flowers near the top.
The activation zone is fairly large, and there are a few sub-peaks that are still in the zone. I found a tree on the highest one, and got my doublet up about 25 feet. Coe Park is popular with mountain bikers, and one passed me as I was setting up. He asked if I needed any help, which was nice of him. There is no Verizon service on top, so I had to rely on RBNHole to spot me, which it did. The first person to answer my CQ was not a chaser, and I had a short qso with them. I then quickly worked the pileup on 30 meters, getting 7 stations, then went up to 20 where I only got one. No one answered on 40. I didn't bring my HT, since this area is fairly remote for VHF.
Beautiful place to operate from.
Once I had had enough of calling CQ, I packed up and headed over to Wilson Peak. To get there I continued along Jackson Road, then took the Dexter Trail to the Grizzly Gulch Trail, then up the Wilson Peak Trail. Up on the ridge I passed a number of other hikers, most of whom looked like they were heading out for the weekend, but down in Grizzly Gulch I had the place to myself.
Pretty view.
Down in Grizzly Gulch. Plenty of water in the stream.

Trailhead: End of Gilroy Hot Springs Road, at the bridge. There is only space for 3-4 cars here, so come early or you'll need to park 2 miles down the road at the very large Hunting Hollow entrance.
Website: SOTA Site
Maps: Purchase from the visitor center or the Pine Ridge Association. I've not found a good free map online. KB1KXL SOTA Hikes map
Route: Many choices. I took Coit Road, Anza Trail, Jackson Trail and Jackson Road. A shorter but steeper route would be Grizzly Gulch trail to Rock Tower Trail. Longer routes and loops are also possible.
Red Tape: None for hikers. Trails closed to biking after rain. I did not have cell service on top.

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