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Labyrinth

Yesterday I was looking for a little walk I could do to satisfy my exercise requirements. I decided to head toward Avila Beach, vaguely thinking I might just wander around near the beach itself for a bit. I got a little diverted, however, on the way there.

Used to be one could take San Luis Bay Drive to Avila Beach Drive and head into Avila that way. But construction crews are blocking the intersection of San Luis Bay and Avila Drives, probably because it can be dangerous. So one has to take an alternate route. I decided to drive down Higuera Street in SLO to Ontario Drive and take that all the way to Avila Beach Drive. This route is a little longer than the San Luis Bay Drive option, as it involves going past SL Bay Drive and curving around to reach Avila Bay Drive farther south. Which means making a large U-turn and heading back in the direction I came from but on a different road.

Why do I go on about the route? Because it was on this route, on Avila Bay Drive, that I passed Sycamore Springs resort. I thought of parking in that lot and heading for the Bob Jones Bike Trail and walking on that for a bit. I've done that before and it's a beautiful walk.  One can park at Sycamore Springs and walk over a bridge, crossing the busy Avila Bay Drive, to Bob Jones. I pulled into the lot. On my way in I saw a sign that said "Labyrinth" with an arrow pointing across the street. So I parked near that sign, wondering what this was about.

It took a bit to cross the street. Cars speed in both directions and are spaced just far enough apart that I had to get up some courage. Once across the street, though, I found a strange and wondrous sight.

There is a little wooden stair to the dirt from the road, then a pathway of wood chips. On both sides of the path are flowers. Shrubby flowers, annuals, and large sunflowers.





The path is clearly marked by river rocks. It leads to this sign:



Smoke free and cell free zone. I kept my cell phone on because I was using it to read the time, but I worried that someone might call and I'd have to say "sorry, I'm in a cell-free zone". I was willing, but I didn't want to disturb anyone there who counted on the lack of ringing. Just around the corner I saw the labyrinth:



Who wouldn't be delighted?

I found the entrance and walked the entire path. It is designed to take one all the way around every curve before one reaches the center, where I took some additional pictures.









I didn't walk the path all the way out again. I felt it was okay (the sign says there is "no wrong way" to walk the labyrinth, of course) to step over stones to get out. I continued on this short path and found this:



This is called a "cairn", according to the accompanying sign. It is an "ancient form".

The entire site is intended for meditation, according to some of the signs. Which is why no cell phones. I suspect it is used in classes held at Sycamore Springs, where one can get massages, can sit in hot tubs, and can take yoga classes. And stay in the hotel and eat there as well. There are little cabins on the same side of the road as the labyrinth and cairn, but they aren't directly accessible to them. I tried to find a short cut from the labyrinth to Bob Jones trail, which I could see on the other side of a fence, but I was not successful.

I made my way back to my car, therefore, and continued on to Avila Beach. I had a little lunch and coffee there, looking out over the ocean.

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Judith Lautner
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