My (ir)regular Saturday Gaming got canceled at the last minute, yesterday, thus I've found myself with an open day. I had to go out to the Temescal branch of the Oakland library to pick up a book, and afterward I opted to bike up to regular haunt, Lake Temescal.
Since I had the afternoon free, I decided to do something I hadn't before: hike the trails. This required locking up my bike, which was a bit of a challenge as Lake Temescal doesn't have any bike locks, other than some inadequate '70s racks right by the lagoon. I eventually found a handy sign post, and was able to lock there, although I had to set my bike amidst thorns to do so.
(I was pretty sure my streetproof tires could ignore the thorns, and that proved right.)
Lake Temescal has two paved paths along the east side of the lake: one by the lakeside and one up on a bit more of a rise. I often ride both of those when I visit the lake: the high road down to the south side of the lake, then the lakeside path back. Similarly, there are two dirt paths on the west side of the lake. These no-bike hiking paths were what I set out to explore today.
The lakeside path is pretty. It runs along a crick for a bit, then the lake proper. Sometimes you have foliage all along one side, and sometimes it's all around you, almost forming a tunnel. Most of the foliage is ivy and shrubs, with trees being less frequent. It all reminded me of Ed Levine Park, where I used to go to summer camp when I was young. The only problem with the lakeside path was the fishermen, who sometimes took up half or more of the path.
The hillside path takes you up a pretty steep incline, then you get to look down on the lake and the park from 50 or 100 feet up or something. It's very attractive. About halfway along the way, I found that it split in two. Both paths were wide and well worn. One started heading down into the lake and the other further up into the hills. I was a bit confused because I was pretty sure there was only one official path on the park map, and that it had no branches. In any case, I was enjoying the hike, so I headed upward, to extend it.
Over time, it became increasingly obvious that this was the unofficial path. Slowlyit narrowed more and more until a wide dirt path had become a narrow trail through the grass. When it ran along a fair slant for a while, I was definitely sure I was off any real path, and considered turning back. The path more or less ended in an overlook, far above the park. From there three pseudo paths rans off: one up to the houses on the ridge line; another straight ahead (but barely visible); and one down the steep slope to the official path.
I decided I'd had enough brave exploring and headed downward. It was indeed pretty steep. I held onto trees for support at some times and at two different points just slid down on my shoes and butt. I eventually safely decamped onto the path proper. Only then did I discover that I was largely covered with a thin layer of dirt that had been raised up during my sliding.
I brushed off as much as I could. Eventually when I got home, the clothes went into the hamper and I went into the shower.
Still, it was a fun adventure, and nice to see the rest of the park.