Healing hikes provide an opportunity to discover parks and open spaces you may not know exist!
I do most of my work in the Bay Area, particularly around San Francisco and Oakland (where I live). Having traveled to other urban areas it true, California is pretty unique in the amount of parks, open spaces, and diverse habitats to connect with. But I know the divide between the "people landscape" and the "natural landscape" still holds true the more and more I bring communities out into our nearby natural areas. These gorgeous treasures can be less that 20 minutes away, yet there's a tendency to either not know about them or visit them regularly. The reasons why this happens I can certainly get into a more lengthy discussion, but for now, I'd like to take this opportunity to list just a few of these locations and why they are so unique and special for these healing hikes.
Perhaps you've been, perhaps you haven't, perhaps they are your favorite places! If you haven't and are feeling adventurous or in need of good quality time in nature, hopefully my list will help you get out there! Let me know if they do!
And remember, each location is a sacred place for all of us. Walk in mindful gratitude, request for permission to be present, and walk with intention. Put into practice what we've always done on these hikes to make the most of your well-being!
Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
Volcanoes in Oakland? Yes! This is a pretty cool site to see the expansiveness of the East Bay's rolling hills with peeks into urban development. Cow pies show evidence of the grazing animals and seeing other wildlife makes this a nature escape win! Visit this park and read some of the interpretive signs about the volcanoes, visit the labyrinths, and don't forget to look up and out. This is a good site for sunset hikes as you can view the decent from many view points along the hills. As you watch the sunset, let go of the things that no longer serve you and ask for the doors to open to your true path.
El Polin Spring (The Presidio)
Interested in land, history, AND spiritual connection? This is a good one to visit and the National Park Service does a really good job in giving this site a somewhat museum-like feel to your visit. The Springs in particular, have a great connection to the healing work we do on these hikes. Originally owned and tended by one of San Francisco's first Spanish land owners, Juana Briones and her story as a Curandera was too inspiring to pass up. Take the Ecology Trail in The Presidio and find your way to El Polin and end with a higher view point of the city at Inspiration Point. When you are at El Polin ask for permission to allow the spring's waters to cleanse you of negativity or look into your reflection to remember who you are.
Coyote Hills Regional Park
This park is not too far away from the hustle and bustle of the East Bay and is totally worth the drive into the marsh and hike up the peaks. My sense is that this is a very sacred piece of land and one I'll be sure to visit more often. Head into the trails leading you up the peaks and see a bird's eye view of the marsh and feel the ancient rock outcrops. For your historical spiritual nurturing, the visitor center is a great place to learn the stories and see the faces of today's Natives. When you get to a peak look out and acknowledge the four directions. Thank the elements for how they have served you and leave an offering; a small non-invasive, biodegradable gift. I usually like to bring a small amount of rain water I've collected and offer it back.