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Lately I’ve been looking to break my routine by finding different places to hike that are still close to home; and since Folsom Lake is nearby, I picked the most convenient access point, Beals Point, for my Thursday morning outing. I’ll admit I was disappointed after I got there, but it’s my own fault, really. I already knew Beals Point is in the middle of suburban development and contains a series of large dikes that form part of Folsom Dam, so it was hardly going to be the serene escape I was looking for. I wouldn’t exactly say the place was crowded at 8 AM on a weekday, but I did see an intermittent stream of folks using the park maintenance road as a bike trail or for their morning run.

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I fled from the pavement to the small side trails and then down to the deserted beach and the water, feeling genuine relief. I was also enjoying the wonderfully cool weather — so refreshing after our recent heat wave! The closer I got to the muddy shoreline, the more isolated I felt, so I spent awhile wandering on the sand and through the huge piles of driftwood left over from last winter’s historic high water levels. Of course, dead trees weren’t the only things left high and dry beside the lake. I wasn’t surprised to see some crumpled aluminum cans and other small scraps of trash, but the big red pillow was a surprise, and impossible to miss.

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Ground fires aren’t allowed in the area, but someone found another more creative use for the driftwood.

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I passed some grazing horses along the way, and eventually I located the dirt horse trail I was looking for.

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I wasn’t very happy about hiking across Dike 4, but I did appreciate not being in traffic, commuting to work.

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