Phil Walker and his ’52 Studebaker

By Philip Walker

To our YLP residents: March 2, 2019

My wife, Catherine, and I have lived here in Yosemite Lakes Park for nearly 40 years. I would like to offer my observations on walking our Blue Heron Lake trail on a regular basis.

Many of you know me by my ’52 Studebaker I drive down for my walk. I am also the one with the Nordic walking sticks which I understand can add another 30% aerobic value to the walking.

Our walking trail was expanded by another 1/2 mile a number of years ago, adding another dimension of scenic pleasure. I’m sure you have noticed that our resident blue herons and the white egrets seem to enjoy hanging out up at this north end past the mail boxes.

Those of you who already are aware of the pleasures of walking our lake can agree that we all may walk this beautiful & rustic trail for many different reasons. Of course, exercise and walking your dog are two major goals. I remember jokingly asking a dog walker if it was legal to walk this lake without a dog? I observe the dog walkers enjoying greeting each other for dog talk, creating a common social bond.

I see young people running full speed, and can circle the lake two three times in my one round trip. I am always puzzled when I see people walking or jogging with their earbuds attached for audio stimulation as they exercise. I can understand that habit if you are in a gym working out, but here it seems they are missing out on all the auditory stimulation of the sound of water, birds singing, wind in the trees and the sounds of nature. But that’s just me.

Of course each season provides us trail walkers with a variety of fragrances from around the lake, even including aromas from the Blue Heron kitchen! I have enjoyed music from the wedding ceremonies drifting from across the lake.

I am probably not the only one who sometimes carries a cell phone to capture a shot of an occasional bald eagle on a tree top, or cormorants drying their wings as they perch statue-like on a rock or tree top. And what a pleasure it is to happen to observe the blue heron or egrets take off with their wide wing spread and land elsewhere!

It is always a pleasure to observe those Canada geese forming a group on the water then apparently a leader advises; “OK guys, wheels up in five” and off they go in formation with that familiar squawking as they gain altitude. Now our turtles can be seen basking on the logs both in the fore bay and on the west side of the lake.

But there’s something more when we take our adventure around our lake. In my past life as a marriage and family therapist, I often helped my high-stressed clients engage in a self soothing exercise often referred to as mindfulness. This is a simple exercise to reduce toxic thoughts, release external distractions and to promote a keen sense of awareness of the moment.

Most of us are usually in a hurry to move onto our next activity. Our lake can provide a perfect setting to just wind down a little, promoting a positive and healthy mindset or mood, and lowering our blood pressure as we walk in our very own nature’s sanctuary. See you at the lake!

Philip Walker