Comfort in the Familiar
My childhood vacations were spent camping and canoeing at mountain lakes in the Adirondacks. The essence of long walks from my front door in the Adirondack foothills runs through my veins. Eyes closed, I can see, hear, smell, taste and touch those forests, fields and creeks. The inexplicable sixth sense of a place wafts back with unexpected triggers.
Now I live in Northern California, with access to a wide variety of natural terrain to explore in every direction. Broad Pacific beaches, steep mountains, brushy chaparral.
The first time I arrived for a hike in the Marin Watershed, a treasure of five small lakes, I was swept with the “back home” feeling of being in the Adirondacks. Lakes. Pine trees. Blue shadows. Sparkling water ripples. The sound of wind through the tree tops. I felt both exhilaration of memory and calming reassurance.
Being comforted by familiar things is universal. A smell, a color, a landscape, a sound, a beloved face.
For people on the autism spectrum, this phenomenon can be especially powerful. My autistic son has now walked many miles on the steep trails of Mt. Tam and the stunning coastline of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties. It warms my heart to think that these familiar places are now a comforting part of his internalized world.
This week’s Hike Notes are about Bon Tempe Lake, a 3.7 mile loop hike around a lake that changes character with every turn of the trail. Many of the views sweep me back to my childhood stomping grounds.
Herons and cormorants add to the visual treats. The length of the walk is countered by a lack of steep climbs. There are plenty of spots to pause and enjoy yet another unique view of the lake.
Please feel free to share. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photos!
Hike Notes 1: Marin Headlands Visitor Center to Rodeo Beach
Hike Notes 2: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
Hike Notes 3: Lands End Lookout to Mile Rock Beach
Hike Notes 4: Muir Beach to Pirates Cove
Hike Notes 5: Devil’s Slide
Hike Notes 6: Wave Organ- Crissy Field
Hike Notes 7: Tennessee Valley
Hike Notes 8: Fort Funston Beach Walk
Hike Notes 9: Milagra Ridge
Hike Notes 10: Bon Tempe Lake Loop
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.