Lifestyle: Find Solace in California

Surrounding the city of Berkeley, California, there is an expansive stretch of magnificent, natural phenomena. I recently visited the college town during the peak of summer. My first priority was to spend as much time outdoors as possible, indulging in the sunshine.

After scouring a list of suggested scenic spots and hiking trails, I decided upon two different locations to check out: Lake Anza and Indian Rock Park.

Lake Anza, located in Tilden Regional Park, is a man-made reservoir where visitors can partake in athletic activities, including recreational swimming and renting paddle boats. The lake itself lands in the middle of several hiking trails, ideal for any individual who might be interested in exploring the area on foot before hitting the water.

The road leading to the lake itself is slightly convoluted, since there are so many tall trees covering the depths of Tilden Park. Along the path to the lake’s entrance, there are several framed cutouts of the peaceful lagoon shrouded by tree branches. Such clandestine lookout points can serve as lovely photo opportunities spots or reflective sitting areas.

In addition to the beach and swimming area, there are picnic tables and a snack bar available nearby. While I was there, I observed several different groups of people around the concession stand.

Crowds of all ages were present. Young children enlisted in summer camp gathered around the pavement to share slices of watermelon. A group of adults, sans kids, purchased soft serve ice cream cones, most likely immersed in their own memories of summertime nostalgia.

Located down the road from Tilden Park, there exists a modest structure called Indian Rock Park. The park consists only of 1.18 acres, but the view from the summit encompasses the San Francisco Bay into panoramic vision.

During the 1930s, two sets of steps were carved into Indian Rock. While the installation makes the climb a bit easier, it’s not exactly comparable to scaling a set of stairs. Incisions into the volcanic rock are rather shallow, so hikers need to remain alert while climbing.

The terrain is suitable for beginning climbers. For the more advanced, there are roughly 1,000 problems available at Indian Rock and neighboring Mortar Rock. In rock climbing vernacular, a problem is “a specified route that has a series of holds on a stretch of rock.”

While I was only able to spend a short amount of time at both Lake Anza and Indian Rock Park, I walked away from each place with a unique and unforgettable experience. I would absolutely revisit both places next time I’m in the city of Berkeley.

All photos by Michele Bacigalupo.