Lake County is far from boring, even in the winter months. Between the rain storms, the sun always returns and graces us with winter’s cooler temperatures, making it quite possibly the most comfortable time of year for hikes of all abilities. And winter may be the perfect time to experience the wonders of Boggs Lake Preserve. This forty-six-acre mountainous lake echoes times past when water slapped the tree-edged shoreline, providing a scenic place for hunting and fishing for its first caretakers, the Native Americans. Its natural habitat still attracts waterfowl and animals of all kinds.
Most of Boggs Lake is a seasonal lake that ebbs and flows with the changing rainfall. Its shallow basin fills during the wet season, and water stays well into spring. Winter, when the lake is full, is one of the best times to visit. Often, the lake is quiet, but as early as February, you can hear the creaking call of the red-winged blackbirds and the evening chorus of millions of frogs. Mt. Hannah towers over the north end of the lake, its fir-covered slopes guarding the still waters.
The experience of Boggs Lake begins as you leave the parking lot. Follow the trail that heads into the fir, pine, and oak forest and embrace the stillness. This short walk is ideal for children and those of all walking abilities. It does have a few rough patches, but nothing unsurmountable. In summer months, breathe deeply the smell of dry pine and fir. In the fall, be on the lookout for wild mushrooms. And in winter, enjoy the blooming manzanitas and the quiet emptiness of the scenery.
But no stroll at Boggs Lake is complete without a visit to the dock. Not far from the parking lot, the trail branches off, and it’s just a few steps to the lake, where a dock rests in the deeper waters. Tules grow thick and full, providing shelter for the many creatures that call this their year-round home. Now’s the perfect opportunity to take a deep breath and be quiet for a moment. The lake stretches out before you, and in the distance, Mt. Hannah still holds the last rays of the winter sun. The dock sways gently in the shallow water, brushing against the tules. Birds flit across the sky, preparing for the evening. And all is still.
It isn’t one single thing that sets Boggs Lake apart. It’s a feeling. It’s the experience of something set apart and holy. It’s the wild, the calm, the stillness and peace that echo off its shorelines. In this moment, life stands still. At this moment, it is a medicine not prescribed but given freely by nature. This experience, this feeling, and this well-being are to be shared by all.
And perhaps the greatest joy of all is knowing that this habitat is protected, set aside for nature and for all to enjoy, and awaits your return.
Boggs Lake Preserve is located at 6902 Harrington Flat Road. For more information and to download a seasonal brochure, visit the Lake County Land Trust website.