Stanford Campus' Lake Lagunita

Lunchtime, drove over to the Stanford golf course driving range near the north end of Lake Lagunitas. Surprised to find the parking is free; must be the only place on campus. Have wanted for some time to do a barefoot stroll around the lake.

Small sharp gravel is scattered across the abandoned asphalt parking area leading to a sandy path to the lakeside, the path bordered by young, soft Chamomile plants (this is the plant that provides the tea). Soon the sand path turned into dirt--hard, dried mud, really. Passed thru a gate in a chain link fence, then down a steep dirt path to a boggy low-lying area, where the rain water enters Lake Lag. The lowest part was covered with a very wet area of dark brown mud the consistency of oatmeal. Little pools of water stood in some places. The area was too wide to step across. My feet sank in way over the ankles, forming heavy brown socks. Wow--I haven't squished around like that since I was a kid.

On the other side of the bog, the dirt path rose up, and I followed it around and down a steep area where previous tennis shoe prints had dried into "steps". The I crossed a small fast-running brook on a plank someone had placed there. I liked the sock effect so much that I didn't rinse off. Then up a steep bank to the top of the berm which forms the boundary of the lake, and along a thin gravel path, with grass off on the lake side, which I didn't need to use. In places, there was dried, deeply textured mud covered with bike tracks and tennis shoe prints. There were lots of students out walking and jogging, also some secretary-types on lunch break. No one would wave back--I guess the sock effect was just too much.

Followed the gravel path past a sailboarding lesson in progress, then crossed the sandy beach to another narrow dirt path thru tall weeds. This path soon led back up to the gravel path, which went through an oak grove past some dorms where people were having lunch on picnic tables. Soon the gravel path became hard dirt again, and eventually I had returned to the steep "steps" leading down to the brook area--the complete circuit of the lake. Followed the brook upstream for a while, then waded out on some rocks and washed off the dried mud socks. Walked along in tall grass, bending it over by stepping slightly sideways, until I came to a spot where someone had placed a black rubber mat beside a small tree--probably a nude sunbathing area. Stood on the warm smooth mat with the sun and stiff wind to my back, watched the tall grass wave and swirl. Patches of yellow and purple wildflowers all over. Flock of black birds dip and wheel in formation. Brilliant blue sky. Cotton puff clouds.

Walked along some more through the tall grass, saw lots of young, still tender sand spurs and immature thistles amid the soft grass. It will be impossible to pass this way once the plants ripen and hot weather dries out the needles and spikes. Climbed back up a dirt cliff to the chain link fence gate, took the sandy path and gravel parking area back to the car. The stroll took 45 minutes of slow barefooting. Can't wait for lunch time tomorrow!

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