Sunday, April 13, 2014

Phoenix Lake

Springtime Phoenix Lake
Tucked in the heart of Marin County, California near San Francisco is Phoenix Lake.  This small gem feels remote on the outskirts of Ross, a wealthy bedroom community.  Parking may be difficult: only twenty stalls are provided and street parking is not allowed.  Eight spots a mile out next to the Lagunitas Country Club allow parking Monday through Thursday but it is closed weekends.  This space offers the best starting point.

Wellness Wellspring

The path to the lake meanders through redwoods, trickling creeks, and aromatic California bay trees. A graciously provided rustic drinking fountain at the trail head foreshadows great things to come and fortifies body and spirit with a sense of wellness. Drink and enter.

Redwood Refuge

Along the way, remnants of early logging linger and old sawed-off redwood stumps wide and welcoming in their decay signal shelter: redwood refuge for forest fauna.

Beyond, a mile up the moderate trail sits placid Phoenix Lake in its humble wooded basin. Springtime flowers colors the lake yellow and bright green framing views of Mount Tamalpais.

Lush Lake
Abundant foliage grows thick and lush reflections glimmer brightly on the water with illusions of undisturbed wilderness.

Root Wrapped Rock

Veering left and hiking entirely around the lake is easy to moderate to wonderful, proving that travelling a good path is as rewarding as the destination. Wander off and discover nooks and brooks secreted away. Giant roots hold steep wooded banks gripping large rocks in their sinuous search for water. Spring-time runoffs nourish moss, which thriving brilliantly round out jagged rocks a soft velvety green.

Black Spring Moss

The hike is not altogether wild and steps have been taken to ensure some safety while safeguarding against erosion. Woodland stairs lead up and down roller coaster hills past forest undergrowth.

Woodland Stairs

Near the water, where shallow coves serve soggy soils Giant Horsetail - Equisetum Telmateia - thrive, their fertile stems holding up large cones laden with spores later to explode in the summer heat.

Giant Horsetail
Hike around to the North shore and Forget Me Not flowers appear trail-side splashing blue accents on sienna paths and verdant hillsides.

Forget Me Not

The round trip is roughly five miles and is relatively easy. More challenging trails lead from the lake up Mt. Tam or to four more lakes in the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed making up the Marin Municipal Water District. The possibilities are vast. All are open to the public.  Enjoy.

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