25 May 2012

The Idiot and the Labyrinth

Ever since our filming adventure/striptease run, RoseRunner and I have been talking about getting together again for some radical hill running. She's way faster than I am, but I'm willing excited to do nasty inclines others tend to shy away from. Or maybe it's my scintillating conversation that has attracted her to me. Quite possibly, it's a kind of bonding over hip issues. Or maybe she enjoys the feeling of superiority one gets when one hangs out with an idiot (see comment #64).

When she read about my long run the weekend before last, she emailed me promptly..."When can we do this?" We decided on today. 

Unfortunately, my ill-fated Bay to Breakers run-from-hell-with-a-wooden-leg put a damper on things. While my calf is no longer seized up, my Achilles tendon on that left side still feels 'crunchy.' Or maybe 'crackly' is a better word. I was so bummed to email her that I needed to bail on our Thursday rundate :( 

Her reply... 

We don't have to run.

She said this. Really.

We don't have to run.

Imagine that.

She presented me with a list of possibilities, and we settled on a hike. Because she is so nice and I know she just returned from a killer hiking vacation to Zion National Park, I took her somewhere special.

The Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is one of the many fabulous open spaces in the East Bay Regional Parks system. Located in the Oakland hills, it contains a network of trails and old roads...and a labyrinth located in an old quarry. 

If you're ever in the area and are looking for a free and interesting outing, hiking down to the labyrinth is a great option. The trail is not too challenging...even young children can do it (but it takes about 42 times longer with kids). Getting from the parking lot to the labyrinth is about a mile of rolling hills on some paved but mostly rocky dirt road. There are real bathrooms and trail maps at the parking lot in addition to a water fountain. 

View of the labyrinth from an overlook at the side of the dirt road...

...and on the other side – technology! 
I've never seen such a collection of satellites!

In the center of the labyrinth, people leave offerings.

Some of it looks like trash...I wonder if some of it actually is trash...
or if the trashy stuff holds some deeper meaning other than being too lazy to pack it out.

Obviously, Cinderella is not trash. But that water bottle in front of her... it's full.
Perhaps it was left as an offering to rain gods...or to slake the thirst of a weary traveler.

Rainbow puffball.
Definitely not trash.
Random tissue under rock behind it? Hmmmm....

I know this picture sucks. The cigarette butt is in the shadow.
I'm thinking it was some smoking-labyrinth-walker's last ciggy before quitting.
After walking the peaceful, meditative path smoking that last cigarette, the smoker placed the finished butt in the offering cache in the hopes the quitting would be for good. Maybe.

A strange little illustration of a crowned fox flanked by hounds wearing animal hats (are they pig hats?) somewhat obscured by a hand-written note saying I don't know what, both anchored into the 'altar' by an empty glass bottle...all of significance to someone. Or not.

RoseRunner and I talked about this.
Is the fact that the money is still there a testament to the sacredness of the space? 
Or that one dollar is not worth stealing from an altar? 
What if it had been a twenty? She said, "It wouldn't be there."
I'm inclined to agree, but what do I know? I am an idiot.

We left an offering...well, she did. 
A stick of gum.

After wandering around the labyrinth and speculating on the altar contents and how awesome the regional park system is, we meandered up and around and over some more trails...

...where we discovered another labyrinth!!!

A baby one :)

We were again struck by the beauty of where we are fortunate enough to live and get to run and hike...

Look at all those roads and trails!

And how perfect our weather is for being out of doors...

Did you really just take my picture? Shit. 
The sun's all in my eyes and I'm making a weird face...
you are such an idiot.

And then we walked back to the parking lot on a different trail...

Lined with poison oak...beware!

And we saw lots and lots of large dog families....meaning they were large dogs AND lots of dogs in each group. "If you have one dog, you have five" became the refrain. Not exaggerating.

We made it back to our cars and kept thanking each other for being so flexible and okay with hiking instead of running. It started to feel almost like Chip 'n' Dale, the overly-accommodating chipmunks...but in a good way.

And we made plans for running killer hills again :)


  1. We have a running place here in Portland where people leave little things. Weird things for the most part, but it's very interesting :-)

  2. Sounds like a blast. I'd probably prefer this to running anyway. Much more time to visit and hurt less overall.

  3. Really interesting and very nice place to hike or run. Here in SA there would probably be a pile of trash by now.

  4. Oh yes, and here in SA the dollar (even 1) would be gone as well. Have a super weekend!

  5. I can't believe you didn't take that dollar. Where is this labyrinth again?

  6. I have to say, you just make me smile :)

  7. What a great day! I'm glad you decided to go for a hike together. Hiking with a buddy is the best:) Looks beautiful!

  8. Any back-story on the labyrinth? And I seriously doubt that those transmission towers being so close is a coincidence. It's the perfect place for an communications uplink to other worlds.

  9. Clearly Patrick is tipping his hand as to his "other-worldly" origins. How else can he explain his physical abilities that far exceed a normal human's?

  10. I love the fox drawing, I hadn't noticed it! I'm glad you toned down the "idiot-themed" post, because....you aren't one. And I'm always make stupid faces, so that is an accurate representation of how I looked the entire hike ;)

  11. That's really pretty. I'm a sucker for anything volcanic. That offering situation was kinda weird.

  12. Clearly, the full water bottle was left for Cinderella...she's going to get mighty thirsty eventually!

    A dollar makes for some great gas money in times of dire needs. Just saying.

    Glad hiking up the hills didn't aggravate the Achilles more (hopefully anyway!)...what a great friend to go with you and NOT run. Those are the best friends. :)

  13. That looks like fun. I have actually never been there! Which I am embarrassed to say, since it's right in my backyard! Now who is the idiot. If you guys go again, let me know!

  14. That alter thing is so weird! I would be thinking about that for days - how it came into existence. And they why everyone else that walks by it seems to "understand" it and not take money lying there? So weird. Humans are weird.

  15. It's good to slow things down and hike instead of run sometimes. And of course, you see more photo ops that way :)

  16. That looks like an incredible place to hike. Honestly, I'm surprised that even the dollar was still there. A $20 wouldn't last a day. Hell, I might have nabbed it. What are the labyrinths exactly - old or new? Very cool.

  17. FUN!!!! omg, fun. And all that trash?!

  18. Looks like a beautiful place for a hike! Nice to have flexible friends too.

  19. Thanks for reminding me of this place, on my to do "hike" for this summer if my knee let me do it ;)

  20. Wow looks beautiful ! With my bum ankle I'm going to be doing nothing but sitting on my butt and drinking all weekend :(

  21. That looks like a totally fun hike!

  22. That is so awesome...... Wish we had a labrynth here!

  23. That is so awesome...... Wish we had a labrynth here!

  24. Wow, so cool! I'd love to see something like that!

  25. That looks wonderful! I love the baby labyrinth most. I have a hike in my near future, too--definitely looking forward to it. It's a good substitute when things like tendons and hips and effin' backs feel "crunchy."

  26. What an awesome place to run!

  27. One time I found a labyrinth in a cathedral but everybody got mad when I tried to job around in it.

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