When on vacation, we frequently find new places that have an unexpected beauty. These are places where we have fun, and sometimes we dream that we could stay there forever. But what about the places where we, in fact, live and work?
I don’t know about other places, but living in Goleta, I have no problem finding magical places around me. Yes, I call them magical, because in such places we feel that we’re suddenly transported to a faraway land, with beautiful mountains, and a lake, with all sorts of wildlife around us.
Like most everyone else, I have a busy professional and family life. This leaves me little to no time to get out of town in search of hidden natural jewels where I can breath the sweet smells of nature. It is true that I go to the ocean frequently, but I miss the freshness of the plants, the sounds of birds singing, and the little critters running on dry leaves that were such a part of my childhood. I love to see and feel the sun sneaking through the trees’ branches, with the sometimes cool and sometimes warm currents of air swirling around me. So, for the last three weeks, I have made it a point to spend at least one day a week in contact with nature.
It has been so peaceful and rewarding that I figured that reminding you of such places would be a good idea, in case you have not been there in a while. The first place I went was Lake Los Carneros. What a wonderful place! Anyone can enjoy being there. The very young as well as the elderly can take leisurely strolls around the lake on the paved path. The more adventurous may take a detour from the main walkway and go through the small trails. If they persist, they may find their way to Stow House, for a piece of Good Land’s History, or they can simply stay close to the lake to find the flower beds that surround it.
The next place I went to was the Devereux Lagoon. Access is easy — just go south on Storke Road and continue straight on, by car or foot, through Slough Road. That will take you to Coal Oil Point Reserve, which is right at the oceanfront. When you get there, you will have walked close to a mile, and then you can walk a bit more on the bluffs if you so desire. What I enjoy the most at this place are the smells of trees and plants. I cannot say that I know which plants are responsible for such inspiring aromas, but I can tell you this easy hike will fill all of your senses.
The third jewel I want to bring to your attention as a great place to get lost in is Campus Point — right where UCSB meets the ocean (anyone at UCSB can point you in the right direction.) Here you combine ocean views — beautiful ones — with a hike on the bluffs. If you decide to heed my advice and take this hike, you won’t regret it. If, like me, you enjoy a few minutes of meditation in nature, this is the right hike for you. After you have walked about a half a mile, you’ll get to the labyrinth, which I wrote about previously. You just clear your mind, and inspiration will come your way.
How long has it been since you have visited these places? Maybe it is time for you to go there again, to smell the roses.