Donna and I are now in the ranger station/visitor's center at Henry Coe State Park, so we have officially entered the Pacheco Pass region of our walk. The station only has dial-up service, so I cannot send text or pictures we have for Days 11-12.
We will be leaving Sunday for a 6 day backpack trip across Coe Park, and so will not be able to make any more updates until around April 19th or 20th.
Today we walked ten miles along private ranch roads, through country that has been untouched since the time of Muir's walk. We decided the experience was even more solitary than Muir's as he would have had a stage pass him as he walked along the Pacheco Toll Road to get over the pass.
Leaving the city was like walking into a John Muir heaven of botany. Even though the sun was not out, it was not raining for most of the day, and the trees and grasses were beautiful. We saw our first fields of wildflowers, filled with goldfields, butter and eggs, cream cups, buttercups and others. The flowers are late this year, everything is in bud, ready to burst when the sun comes out. We are ready to have the sun come out too! We were concerned about the stream crossings we will have to do for the next few days, but the rangers have said that because the crossings are so high up in the watershed, they really are not too deep (only up to our waists). As soon as the rain stops, the levels go down.
We are really looking forward to the solitude of a backpack trip. The van will be over in Gustine waiting for us when we finish crossing the Diablos. I hope we see the fields of flowers Muir wrote about, and will have a clear day so we can get a glimpse of the "range of light".