Just a stone's throw from one of American's busiest populations centers, there is a magical place.
High on a windswept cliff, overlooking the San Francisco Bay, sits a labyrinth. A replica of the seven-circuit Chartres labyrinth, the one at Land's End is not on any maps, nor is it listed on any of the official Land's End park paperwork or websites. Created in 2004 by a man named Eduardo Aguilera, who has built other, similar sites around the Bay Area, the place is amazing.
If You Go
To visit, park at Fort Miley. Follow the Coastal Trail going east, until you get to the offshoot trail to Mile Rock. You'll hit a set of stairs that takes you down to the beach. Where the steps take a sharp left, continue on a path that continues straight up a rise and through some trees. This path will take you to the Land's End Point. Go all the way around the point, because you won't see the labyrinth until you're right there. To get a really great photo of the labyrinth, stand up on the point and shoot downwards.
The Power of Earth, Sea and Sky
I was able to visit on a windy, slightly chilly day. We had taken the long way up to Land's End, stopping at the Sutro Bath ruins and winding our way up the hillside. There were few people on the trails that morning, and eventually we found the stairs to the beach and followed them, took the cutoff, and as we circled around the Cliffside, all of a sudden, there it was.
The labyrinth is made of simple piles of stones. I took a good half hour to walk it, and as I reached the outer circuit I stood for a moment, feeling the wind rise, hearing the crack of the waves on the jagged rocks below, and smelling the crisp scent of the ocean. Despite its location at this raw and wild place, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and completeness in the labyrinth. It was a magical, powerful place to be. At the center, there were small offerings. A pile of stones, a few sticks, some dried herbs held down with rocks, a tiny stick figure doll. I left an offering of my own at the spur of the moment, as well as thanks to whatever gods watch over this untamed piece of the Bay Area. For a brief moment the sun peeked through the clouds, and I felt the power of all four elements coming together in one sacred spot.
After walking its circuits I felt light and rejuvenated, as though I had found something very special indeed. If you get a chance to see it for yourself, don't miss the opportunity.