It is rare in this day and age to find a hidden treasure right under your nose
particularly when in such a well-known city like San Francisco. So
when I first discovered the Lands
End Labyrinth I was surprised and excited. Little did I know that
it would lead to a series of cascading discoveries across the San
Francisco bay area and lead me to meet the man responsible for it
Lands End has been a favorite spot of mine to visit since well before
I moved to San Francisco. When I used to visit on business I would
often spend an afternoon taking in the amazing views of the Marin
Headlands and Golden Gate Bridge from the Lands End walking paths.
More recently I proposed to my fiancée from an overlook on these trails.
3 months after our engagement my fiancée and I again were walking
along Lands End trails and I caught something out of the corner of
my eye that looked unusual… an odd plateau with something on it that
I couldn’t quite make out. Intent on taking a closer look we headed
off down a staircase/path that leads to Muir Beach from the main trail.
At the end of this path is a large plateau overlooking the inlet adjoining
the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. On this plateau I came
across the Lands End labyrinth.
Quite impressed with the size, placement and work that had gone into the labyrinth I couldn’t resist but walk through it. I was very intrigued by the labyrinth and instantly identified the photographic possibilities given the amazing views surrounding the point it was built on. Given that my fiancée and I were walking our 3 dogs, time was short and I seemed to be the only one fascinated by the existence of this maze in such a serene location.
Not content to find such an interesting thing and pass it by so quickly
I adjusted my schedule the next day so that I could make it back with
my camera. While visiting the labyrinth on my second visit I was able
to see others enjoying it and incorporating it into their evening
exercise routines. Not only had a select few people found this hidden
treasure they had begun to build their routines around it combining
the serenity of the scenic surroundings with the meditative qualities
of walking through the labyrinth. Taking photos well into sunset I
too took the time to walk the labyrinth again. This time I decided
to take a closer look at the centerpiece to see what people had left.
Notes, stickers and random objects were left behind, but just as I
turned to walk out I noticed a hidden piece of paper under the rocks.
Carefully removing this paper, I read it to discover that this was
not the only labyrinth created in the area. A map was detailed on
this paper outlining how to find a second labyrinth and an email was
also listed. Now I was twice as curious to the source of these creations
as when I first discovered the Lands End Labyrinth.
Amazing Sunset View From Lands End
click to enlarge
|Magic light illuminates the Lands End Labyrinth with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
In search of
the Marin Labyrinth
What I found out from my discovered clue was that there was another
labyrinth in the Marin headlands with a provided map and a referenced
email contact. Ever intrigued I emailed the contact reference, Eduardo,
and planned my next excursion to hike to the Marin Labyrinth the next
morning. Before the end of the evening I heard back from Eduardo.
As I surmised Eduardo was indeed the person behind the Lands End Labyrinth
and he was in the process of finishing a third labyrinth, this one
in the San Bruno Mountains. Eduardo informed me he was finishing the
San Bruno Labyrinth in the
next couple of days and he invited me to meet with him the day after
next. This was perfect as I could make my way to the Marin Labyrinth
before we met.
Before dawn I got on the road to drive to the trailhead that would take me to the Marin Labyrinth. Eduardo described the general location and mentioned how with good weather there were incredible panoramic views of the entire San Francisco Bay area. For this reason alone I felt an early viewing would be perfect for a sunrise/labyrinth photo. In addition he informed me this labyrinth was even larger than that at Lands End and could clearly be seen from the air. I was really excited to see his work.
The hike to the Marin Labyrinth location was fairly strenuous. As
the sun was beginning to make its presence known I made it to my destination.
The sky was pink from the pre-dawn sun peeking over the Oakland hills.
From left to right I could see Sausalito, Angel Island, all of the
east bay, Alcatraz, downtown San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge,
the Pacific Ocean and behind me was…. an empty clearing where the
labyrinth was supposed to be. I was incredibly disappointed. I walked
around making sure that I hadn’t misread the instructions or information
that Eduardo relayed to me. Later I would find out that this his second
oldest creation had indeed been cleared. The only person more disappointed
than I at this news was Eduardo. Later in the morning I broke the
news to him by phone and we setup a time to meet as he finished his
San Bruno Labyrinth.
|San Francisco Sunrise
click to enlarge
|The amazing view from the former Marin Labryinth Location.
Meeting Eduardo At The San Bruno Labyrinth
The next day early in the morning I drove out to the San Bruno Mountains
to find my way to the partially completed labyrinth that Eduardo was
finishing and to meet the man behind it all. I got there early and
could see that Eduardo did a great job in scouting out locations with
amazing panoramic views. I had never been to this area and could see
a northern facing view of San Francisco again with a clear view from
the Pacific Ocean to the east bay (San
Bruno View -8MB Quicktime VR Movie). The labyrinth was partially
completed and on a slight grade. A walking path was only 20 or 30
feet away making this much easier to get to by comparison to the Lands
End Labyrinth. Just as I was taking this all in I could see Eduardo
approaching on the path in the distance.
Cordial and soft-spoken in his greeting we began to talk about his
labyrinths and how beautiful the weather had been. The warm and clear
weather made viewing and creating labyrinths much more enjoyable.
Eager to finish before needing to leave for work Eduardo put down
his backpack, containing a few tools to aid in finishing his latest
creation and started collecting rocks from 100 yards away. All of
Eduardo’s labyrinths have their form & paths outlined by rocks. Initially
I stood back observing, taking photos and asking Eduardo questions.
I grew increasingly curious about Eduardo and not just about, the
art form Eduardo was pursuing.
As I found out that day and more during a more formal interview months
later, Eduardo grew up in Baja California, Mexico and came to the
US in 1966. Living in southern California until 1983 he moved to San
Francisco and runs his own auto detailing business. Intrigued by art,
but not considering himself artistic, he had experimented in photography,
music and writing. After watching a show on PBS about labyrinths and
making a visit to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco his interests transitioned
from enjoying labyrinths as a visitor, to wanting to create them.
Tying a core theme of “peace, love and enlightenment” to his labyrinths
he began creating labyrinths in December of 2003 and having them prepared
in time for Equinoxes and Solstices. In the case of this labyrinth
he was aiming to complete it for the Fall Equinox.
The more I talked with Eduardo, the more I realized I was interacting
with someone who saw deeper meaning in his creations and had a message.
On that first day of walking through the Lands End labyrinth I thought
someone had a neat hobby of creating such things. After 15 minutes
of talking with Eduardo, I was pleasantly surprised by this revelation
and greatly respected his efforts. It was around this time in our
discussion that I’d take breaks from my photographic documentation
of the labyrinth building to help gather rocks and clear ground so
Eduardo could more rapidly complete his project.
Not only did Eduardo’s theme of “peace, love and enlightenment” impress
me, his overall outlook on life was impressive. As I found out that
day although the destruction of the Marin Labyrinth was heartbreaking
to him, he had endured this kind of situation once before. As he described
in our conversation the Lands End Labyrinth had been destroyed twice
before. Once because he originally built the labyrinth on high ground
at Mile Rock Beach and it had been washed away and the other time
vandals destroyed the labyrinth in it’s current location over a 4th
of July weekend. In each case he was undeterred and rebuilt the labyrinth
bigger and better each time.
Soon enough Eduardo completed his third creation, a small seven-ring
labyrinth, in time for the 2004 Fall Equinox. As I found out the influence
for this and his other labyrinths stem from a connection with ancient
ancestors and calendar systems. In addition to creating his labyrinths
in time for yearly equinoxes and solstices he has also started to
host meetings at his creations on these days.
View from the San Bruno Mountains
click to enlarge
|Early Morning View Of San
Francisco From The San Bruno Mountains
Events At The Lands End Labyrinth
Over the years many people have found their way to his labyrinths.
Unfortunately to date the only labyrinth to remain is his beautiful
creation at Lands End. At this particular location people have left
him contact information, stories and tokens of thanks. Over time people
have found their way to stay in contact with Eduardo, while others
randomly find their way to him on the evening of his gatherings.
For the 2004 Winter Solstice Eduardo lit the labyrinth with luminaries.
A small group of people joined him in what was described to me as
a peaceful and beautiful event, one that brought strangers together
bonding them into friends. Sadly this event was not photographed,
but on Christmas eve the luminaries were again setup for the enjoyment
of a few of Eduardo’s close friends and was photographed.
For the 2005 Spring Equinox the Lands End Labyrinth again was the stage for another gathering. This time the labyrinth
was set ablaze. This fiery spectacle was enjoyed by many of his friends,
fans, and several others that by good fortune had the luck of stumbling
across the event. The fire lasted for quite sometime offering those
attending the option to view the labyrinth at ground level or from
above at various rocky outcrops.
Having enjoyed several of the events tied to Eduardo’s San Francisco
labyrinths and the endless enjoyment of visiting them I relish my
opportunities to meet and talk with him about his future endeavors.
Eduardo is a grounded and talented individual with a great message
tied to his work. Modest by nature he is no different than any other
artist, he would love to make his artwork his living and even have
one adopted or commissioned by the city. Discussion of participation
at Burning Man piques his interest, but would require external funding
and/or grants for what he has in mind… perhaps next year. Ultimately
Eduardo’s passion is in the act of creating and he has been touched
by the responses he’s received to date with his simple creations.
Even he did not expect that his creations would touch as many people
as they have and in such profound ways. If you have not yet had the
opportunity to visit one of his creations be sure to do so.