by Ranger Barry Breckling
Anyone who met Sada Coe quickly learned that she was a special person--quiet, yet with wisdom from years filled with good times and sad times, happy times and hard times. She was born in San Jose in December of 1910 and was brought to her father's Pine Ridge Ranch at an early age. She spent many of her younger years away from the ranch, getting a "proper" education and instruction in the "finer" ways of life, but her choice was always to put on levis and a cowboy hat, jump onto the back of a horse, and ride into the hills. So, whenever possible, as a young girl Sada spent her time riding the hills of the Pine Ridge Ranch, and it became a place she deeply loved.
Most of the old cowboys said she could ride a horse almost as well as the men. A few, probably the more honest ones, admitted that she could outdo most of the men. One old-timer told me he could still see her in his mind's eye, galloping full out down a ridge, moving so fast the brim of her hat was flattened against her head by the wind.
Shortly before I started working at Coe Park in 1977, my predecessor, Ranger Joe White, gave me a great introduction to the park. He left me tapes and marked-up maps, showed me around the park, and took me to meet Sada Coe. Next to introducing me to Sada, the best thing Joe did to prepare me for the job was to loan me all the books Sada had written. Her stories and poems gave me a unique insight into the park, and in no time at all I found I had fallen in love with this wonderful place. It quickly became obvious that Sada loved this remote part of the Diablo Range, and loved it so much that she eventually gave her land to be a park. She reveals her deep personal conviction about protecting wilderness lands for future generations in her story "A Park to the People."
The murmering hills sighed and whispered
softly as a distant lullaby
and I felt compelled to stop and listen.
The feeling of desolation gradually left me
and instead there was a strange sense of peace.
I felt a realization that nothing is ever lost.
There could be no death nor desolation...
but instead a vast spiritual life surrounded one.
The hills in their way could destroy and take from the flesh,
but in return their gift of a spiritual peace was eternal.
Sada Sutcliffe Coe