Tuesday was my last day at work before the summer break. The last couple weeks had been very hectic and busy as they usually are at the end of the school year. But now the seniors have graduated, the other students left for their summer weeks off and we used the final two days to tidy up the library and get the textbook room in order for the beginning of the next school year. Then our break started.
It's a weird feeling to wake up in the morning knowing that you don't have to go to work for several weeks. It didn't take me long to seize the opportunity and walk around my beloved lake. I just wanted to walk enjoying the scenery and decided to leave the camera at home. Of course I saw way to many things I wanted to photograph, but fortunately I still had my phone with me. These pictures were all taken with my LG G4 over the course of two mornings.
There is a paved path that travels around the entire lake, but I usually stick to the horse trails. For obvious reasons they are not paved, well maintained and usually less crowded.
One of my favorite parts is the Fisherman's Trail that leads right next to the lake. The blackberry bushes were overgrowing almost everything. These plants are very invasive and unfortunately crowd out the native plants, even though the rangers do their best to control them. The lake is mostly hidden behind the high plants, but the sound of many birds is present all the time. To the left is a slope with many trees, some of which display beautiful bark color or an interesting shape.
I know the spots where I have seen black-crowned night herons in the past. I always stop by there, and sure enough there was a juvenile black-crowned night heron fishing for his breakfast.
On the other side of the lake I saw an adult one - maybe his momma?
Sometimes I walk up the slope to the huge water tanks near the paved path. The shadows of the trees on the tanks drew me in that morning. I love the shape of all these trees.
Turning back to the lake this view always captivates me.
I met Canada Geese with their young ones on the slope - I was quite surprised not to see them at the lake but in this dry environment. They were busy nibbling the seeds on the grasses.
Look, who I met here! S/he came out on the trail from the side, surprising me. Lucky for me I was still about 30 feet away and I made sure to keep a respectful distance. S/he eventually decided to disappear in the tall grasses up the slope and I could proceed unharmed.
Along the trails by the lake there is always a lot of beautiful vegetation in those places where the blackberry bushes haven't overtaken. Gorgeous thistles, seedpods of salsifies, Queen Anne's Lace and something I couldn't identify.
Then I decided to leave the path by the lake and follow the horse trail up the hill. There's no one there except for the rabbits and snakes.
The views are gorgeous and always remind me why I love living here. All the fresh spring green is gone by now - we haven't had rain for weeks - but I also like the "golden" look. It's so typical for California in the summer.
It was here that I discovered this beautiful dragonfly.
The trail then leads into the forest and it seems you're entering an entirely different world.
This tree was still standing the last time I walked along this trail. Change is ongoing. The fungi on the trees looks interesting and is constantly growing.
There are more wildflowers to find, especially those that like some shade. We're almost at the end of our trail. To the left you can climb up into Annadel State Park (it is much steeper than it looks), to the right you get back to the lake.
Or you can stop at this picnic area next to some old Redwoods. Take a rest, write in your journal, listen to the birds and do some push-ups (that's what I do).
Taking the path back to the lake I end up at the Children's Memorial Grove right at the lake. A few years ago together with some friends we put in a tile for Katie here.
Back in the parking lot I noticed that the California Buckeye is in full bloom. I love these trees!
It was a beautiful morning at the lake and I plan to come back as often as I can during my summer break. This place feeds my soul and every time I'm here I feel like my entire body relaxes and my thoughts are going in a positive direction. Often I don't think anything, just take in the nature around me, listen to the birds and watch the herons. It's time just for me and a precious gift.