Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

The View from the Entrance

The View from the Entrance
Looking at an overview of a portion of the park, this view is from an access gate along Round Top Loop Trail. Along the right is a trail that takes us past Round Top, an old volcano now covered with antennae and just beyond the field of view. Just to the right of the trail is Labyrinth One.

This trail then climbs to a peak and veers to the right, out of sight in this picture, and loops back, eventually, to this very same view point. Where the trail veers to the right we will find Labyrinth Two.

Also at the peak the trail merges to the left with Volcanic Trail. That path will take us to two more labyrinths, Labyrinth 3 and 4. Near the center and top of this view is a clump of trees. Just below the trees is an abandon quarry where the third labyrinth lies hidden. Number four is just behind the dirt bluff that appears, in this picture, to be at the top of Round Top Loop Trail.

Labyrinth Number One

Labyrinth Number One
This one was relatively hard to find. As I walked up Round Top Trail the labyrinth was deep, say, 200 yards deep, within the many bush covered mounds to the right of the trail. I found it by exploring the area. I didn't know it was there and I suppose that many of the locals don't know about it, either.

This is a Cretian labyrinth, as were all of the labyrinths I saw in the park. It appears to be about 20 feet across. For a little accuracy, I laid my jacket on the hill just beyond it to be used as a size reference.

When I found it, it was in disarray. It appeared to have been vandalized as many of the paths had been intentionally disturbed with rocks turned, obviously, into non-conformative ways. I replaced a few rocks where I thought they belonged and somewhat reconstructed it to be as the picture shows.

The paths had remnants of past usage by, what was later described by my friend, Cassandra, as pagan groups performing rituals. There were bouquets of wild flowers that were gathered into small hand-size bunches and laid here and there about the path. There was, among other tokens, the small cover of a childrens book in the center. There were other small man-made and natural trinkets about the winding trail of little monetary value but, possibly, of some significant other value to the person that had left it.

Some of the rocks had markings carved onto them. One such rock was this boulder about a foot across. The circle in the center, were the photo more clear, would reveal the Zen Yin-Yang symbol. At about the 8 o'clock position is a symbol of which I, at this writing, am not certain of the mythological origin but that I think of as Egyptian: an eye, some wavy lines that could represent a water symbol, a capital "U" with small circles at the top of each leg of the "U", and script that could be "IRS" or "Isis"? What's your guess? Etchings Carved into Rock

Labyrinth Number Two

Labyrinth Number Two
Walking to the top of Round Top Loop Trail, it meets Volcanic Trail on the left but Round Top continues to the right. Going on to the right, but veering a little to the north, you come to a cliff. Labyrinth Number Two appears as you approach the edge of the cliff, hidden within an abandon quarry, some two-hundred or so feet below.
The trail that takes you to this labyrinth is, as the crow flies, several hundred yards further along the continuing Round Top Loop Trail. Hike that direction for a while and you'll find a new path that leads down - dangerously steep - in the opposite direction, towards this very large cretian labyrinth. This picture was taken about a quarter of the way down.

The brownish bushes are cattails and other swamp vegetation that decorate a small pond formed by the dammed leftovers of several rains or rainy seasons.

My estimate is that this labyrinth is about 50 feet across. The path is, oh, two foot wide and separated by local grass and rocks. There is no problem here with two-way traffic.

There had been some event held there recently. There were feathers, ribbons, bouquets, notes, finger rings and other items strewn about deliberately at various points along the walking path and the center. Most interesting to me were the several handmade clay mushrooms, or toadstools, that someone had fashioned and left here and there. They gave the eerie feeling that little trolls may be in the cattails, hiding, waiting for the big people to leave.

Labyrinth Two, Going Down

Labyrinth Number Three

Labyrinth Number Three
Number Three is tucked away in a small valley. This valley is, I am told, an abandon quarry. The labyrinth has a obvious heart shape but, if seen from a point a view a few degrees to the left of this photo, it has the appearance of an amphitheatre - seating to the left, stage to the right.

Probably not as apparent is the tantric appearance of the little valley as a whole, with the labyrinth, itself, the vulvic center. This makes me wonder about the female influence of its design and function, if any. Or is this just my own perception?

Labyrinth Number Four

Labyrinth Number Four
Number Four seems like a moonscape, being isolated in a more barren terrain than the other labyrinths. It's behind everything that looks to Sibley Park proper and its nearest scenic view is of the cities to the east of the Oakland Hills. Mt. Diablo, for example, is well within this breathtaking view.

This photo could be called "Shadow Labyrinth". It shows the silhouette of Cassandra, my wife Nancy and me who spent a wonderful afternoon discovering and exploring the Labyrinths of Sibley Park.