Would anyone be interested in a spring flowers Bay Area backpacking trip, scheduled to avoid conflicting with the Rancheria trip. It would seem to me that the scheduling criteria are:
* Avoiding Ken's proposed Rancheria trip
* Early enough to avoid the summer heat (we can schedule a summer swimming backpack later on if we want to)
* Late enough to see a good wildflower display
* I assume that a Sat / Sun trip is best for most people. I could be talked into a longer trip if that is what people want to do.
It seems to me that, provided it does not conflict with the Rancheria trip, a late April weekend would be a good time to go. Earlier could work, but I would expect late April to have better flowers. (Of course, a lot depends on the year and its weather.)
The next question is where to go. I propose Henry Coe park, simply because it is the largest wild area right around here.
When I brought up the idea of Coe in the other thread, Ken replied "Henry Coe??? Ohhh no. Man that place can get hot and those trails are sooo up and down." Well, there are answers to those points.
Hot -- That's why I would like to go in the Spring -- it does get pretty hot there in the summer, but Spring is OK. bahiker.com says "Spring is the peak season to visit. If you like colorful landscapes, wildflowers are bountiful in late winter and spring" and "Spring's fresh green grass is augmented by lots of wildflowers, including great patches of baby blue-eyes, creamcups, fiddlenecks, popcorn flowers, Johnny-jump-ups sprawl through the grass on a hill just off Hunting Hollow Roadredmaids, johnny-jump-up, and johnnytuck." and "On my visit in late winter, there were lots of johnny-jump-ups, the first blue-eyed grasses of the year, and the tail end of the shooting stars' bloom."
Here's a quote from a guy at yelp.com, which gives March temperatures he encountered -- they sound pretty pleasant to me. "Just got back from a four day solo backpacking trip through the park. March is definitely a great time to visit Henry Coe. The weather ranged from 30-40 at night and the day-time temperatures were in the high 60s and low 70s. The hillsides were lush with green grass and an abundant amount of wild flowers."
A lot of up and down -- my first reaction is to be flippant and reply that is one reason we go ultralight -- to go places that are just too hard to do heavyweight.
More seriously, though, it all depends on where you go. We could avoid the steepest, and should not be too bad. Furthermore, although I have never been in the southern entrances (e.g. Hunting Hollow), hiking from there is reputedly a lot less of the steep up-and-down. (There are also rumors that it is not safe to leave your car at that trailhead overnight.) FWIW: the wildflower descriptions I C&P'd above are from a description of a Hunting Hollow hike.
By way of example, I just quickly traced out a trip to Mississippi Lake from the main entrance. It does have one steep up in it; if we are interested, we can try for an alternate route; in the meantime, this will serve as an example. According to TOPO! it is 11 miles and just over 2400' of total ascent. Coit Lake is 11.5 miles and 2100 feet climing. (By comparison, NG says that the Rancheria trip is 6 miles and 2500' of total ascent.)
I am not pushing Mississippi Lake or Coit Lake -- they are just quick examples that popped to mind.