Monday, August 20, 2012

Cow Beach

While recently on the road, we drove by the lovely Lake Henshaw.  It looked to be a good place to do some exploring in our kayak. 

While driving towards the main entrance, we spotted the gate to "cow beach." Check out the turnstile! I guess it's there so people can get in, but the cows can't get out. Our kayak is pretty heavy and it is much too  far and downhill to carry it to the shore. I wonder why they call it cow beach?

Okay, now we know! You can see the edge of the lake in the upper left hand part of the photo.  You can also see cows over there. Sometimes this entire depression is full of water and the lake is much larger. There are actually cows IN the lake!

Once we got to the lake,we were told that no kayaks were allowed in the water. Apparently, this lake is a reservoir for drinking water for the city of San Diego and no body contact with the water is allowed. Okay, so we can't put a toe in the water because people are going to drink it. However, it's no problem that hundreds of cows are pooping and peeing in it on a regular basis.  I wonder if the people in San Diego think their water tastes funny

I thought this was a cool looking sight.

There is an outcropping by the lake, that has a lot of local history to it. Apparently, back in the day, some local Indians were being mistreated by the local government and occupied that little hill in protest.  At that time, the entire valley was full of water and that hill was an island. I found something about the conflict on the Internet, but I don't know what I did with it and don't know where I found it.  It's a pretty place with odd rules.
For reflections by other folks go to Weekend Reflections sponsored by James.



  1. Odd contradictions. Can see why there might be a blanket ban on boats in case of oil getting in the water (not that kayaks are likely to have oil?) but cows ok / humans not is surprising. Very much like the name 'Cow Beach'. (I like cows.)

  2. Cow piss and no kayaks... Who would think up those rules?

  3. How ironic that cow poop is OK in the water, but non-pooping kayaks aren't. Still, it's a scenic place to enjoy~

  4. Interesting!Love those pictures, the place looks so serene...sorry you weren't allowed into the water. I do not think anyone would have noticed much difference in the taste of water from THAT source!

  5. Oh my gosh, Pat..your question makes me laugh, but seriously, it made no sense..

    The cows are right there, and their waste is right there? Where will it goes if not into the near by water?

  6. What wonderful photos - love the sign and the turnstile. Ironic that you're not allowed in it with all the cows around.

  7. When we were on the Big Island we took our 4 wheel drive down to an out of the way, hidden and almost secret Chicken Beach. Well, actually it wasn't called Chicken Beach. But it was inhabited by lots of hungry chickens!

  8. Cow pooping is okay, but no kayaks!! Well, maybe cow poop has something special that we don't know about??? Does seem a tad peculiar, but then it's California!! Love your captures, Pat, as always! Have a great week!

  9. Great photos Pat! I'll bet their water is quite flavorful...and that's no bull!

  10. You always find the most interesting things!! Maybe the cow pee/poop has addled with their brains enough that now they think it's nutritious.

  11. I don't know about you but I would prefer a stinky toe rather than cow poop in my water.

  12. Hi Pat, There is a reservoir for Asheville, NC near the Blue Ridge Parkway which is like that--no bodily contact...

    Gorgeous lake though.. Hope you did eventually find a place to kayak.

    Thanks for the beautiful photos.

  13. Beautiful photo's...stupid rules!
    I wonder who thought up that one. Who knows just what goes into our drinking water!
    Makes you think.

  14. You have to laugh at government rules sometimes!

  15. Are they saying cows are cleaner than people? Talk about gagging at a gnat and swallowing a camel!

  16. Human = Dirty. Cow = Clean? Does not compute. No wait, I get it... It's beef flavored water. Who doesn't like a refreshing beef drink?

  17. well that's interesting if a little odd

  18. The last time I visited Lake Henshaw was probably about 6 or 7 years ago. The water level was really low at the time. My ex used to go there as a youngster, I thought for fishing but maybe not.

    Wasn't there a dock or something near the "resort" with boat rentals? How can they allow boats and not kayaks? Hmmmm....

  19. Thanks for another great tour of your area Pat. I like the Cow Beach and the stacked boats pics the best. I'll say it live in a beautiful area of the country and I'm glad you share it with us. You should have at least peed in the lake...heh, heh, heh.

  20. the cattle are too cool in that photo! sorry the kayaking was a bust, though.

  21. Next time we go to San Diego, just remember "Don't drink the water"

    Nice shots Pat, Thanks for sharing.

  22. No swimming for humans at Cow Beach!

  23. Beautiful--Makes me want to MOOOVE there. So funny about our self imposed regulations re: no Kayaks, but Cows allowed. NO BULL!

    Great post Bro.


  24. I like those pictures. Bonito Lake.

  25. Crazy rules; I'd much rather your kayak be in the water than the nasty bovine. Love the pictures and the tour, as always.

  26. This is so interesting..I would be interested in the part about the Indians also if you find it, just add it in a comment here for your page. I love how you take each place you go to and add your personality to it. I don't think I want to drink that water though! Your pictures are really good Pat.

  27. you're always up to fun Pat. love the reflections in the lake and the name Cow Beach seems appropriate. Are you certain cows are allowed right up to the shore of that lake? Hmmm, I'm not understanding that. happy week to you Pat.

  28. So very interesting. And befuddling.

    Come on?

    Have they not heard of E.Coli???

    Straight from animal waste in water???

  29. Gotta love those incongruities. Keep on finding them, they make my day :-)

  30. Interesting post. Interesting story and great photos. I can't wait to show it to my husband. He lived in San Diego for forty years.

    I've heard him telling people here the folks there would never drink the water because it came from the Colorado River and had been used at least twice before getting to San Diego.

    Love the cow shots though.

  31. i want my own isolated island community

  32. That's really funny because when I first read that you weren't allowed to put your kayak in, I thought, "Well, what about all the cow crap?"
    I read further and saw you had the same question.
    Bovine Excrement: Good
    People Toes: Bad

  33. I love your adventures! That IS SO strange that they let cows in but not very weird...

    Awesome pics!

  34. hahaha...I posted on the NEWMAN post below because I was so captivated by him. I meant to post on this one. Oops :)

  35. I don't see any of those cows wearing their swimmies or life preservers.

  36. Very beautiful Pat. Great shots as always. A contrast to many of the recent desert shots.
    But great all the same.


  37. After trekking your kayak through that turnstile and all? Geeze. That's ridiculous, but it made for a very interesting blog post with mooving (sorry) photos.


  38. A truly visual feast, Pat! I learned something about cows that I didn't know (there's SO much I don't know about on planet earth, including San Diego's drinking water). Have a great weekend!!!

  39. Cow beach, the best place in the world to get you sunburn when you're a hype moo !!!

  40. I'm glad I drink bottled water. :)
    I don't renumber seeing any cows when I passed this place a few months ago. I do remember thinking it would be a great place to stop and take pictures and I was right. Unfortunately I wasn't the one driving.

  41. It looks serene though. And I guess that goes for most drinking water sources in the world...never know what floated through the lake or river even carcasses at times.

  42. Funny!! Who told you no kayaks? The farmer of the cows? I thought the water in San Diego was a bit acidity.. I will NEVER drink the water down there again!! You are such an informed individual Pat! You are like a travelling encyclopedia! Love you! ;)

  43. Great photos and funny post, Pat.
    I've never heard of fertilizing water.
    Memo to self: Do NOT drink San Diego water.
    Have a wonderful weekend ~:)

  44. Lucy - Yes, very odd! No problem with motor boats as long as you rent theirs. I like cows also!

    sage - It beats me!

    Shelly - There isn't anything less polluting than a canoe or kayak. It was a scenic place. In the middle of nowhere, at a crossroads.

    Geetalima - Thanks! It really is a nice place and at one time much bigger.

    Icy BC - I agree! But then again, a lot of things don't make sense to me. Sometimes the cows are doing it RIGHT in the water.

    Talli - Hey there! Thanks so much. I think the cow beach entrance is the coolest thing there.

    Sharon - Oh yeah, I know all about the chickens. We went to Kauai a while back and there are chickens EVERYWHERE.

    Sylvia - Thanks Sylvia! It's very odd. When the level of the rises or falls, the only thing it does is expand or retract the huge pasturing area for the cows.

    Brian - HA!

    Baby Sister - Thanks Amanda! We look for the odd and interesting things. Yum, this water tastes like cow...

  45. Clarissa - I totally agree. I'm with you! There's fish, cows, and birds all over the place and the one thing they don't let in the water is humans. They are the only species using it as a bathroom!

    Betsy - Hi Betsy! There are a lot of lakes in which kayaks aren't allowed. It makes no sense at all to me.

    Megan - Thanks Megan! You are right, it does make me think. It makes me think I'm only drinking water that I filter!

    Belle - You gotta laugh to keep from crying...

    Ms. A - They are saying more than that! They're saying cow poop and pea is cleaner than human skin.

    Tim - Yum! And if you warm it up it takes like soup!

    becca - Way odd to me!

    Sally - They do have fishing there. There are boat rentals also. Maybe they just want you to rent their boats only. There is a Lake about 30 miles further down that highway (Lake Cuyamaca) where they allow kayaks, but you MUST rent theirs to do so.

    Chuck - My pleasure Chuck! Thanks, it is beautiful and huge here. Much to see.

    TexWisGirl - Thanks! Next time I'll get some photos with the cows actually standing in the main part of the lake.

  46. Jimmy - Thanks Jimmy! I know that they can make sewage water drinkable, but who would want to?

    Mama Zen - I guess that's why they call it Cow Beach!

    John McElveen - HA! That's the funny part! Somebody obviously thought this rule made sense!

    Leovi - Thanks Leovi! Very pretty!

    Ree - Thanks so much and my pleasure!

    Island Rambles - I'll do that when I find the info. Thanks for the nice words.

    Ms. Becky - We try! That water they are standing is actually part of the lake. It's just retracted some. They walk over to the main part of the lake also and walk right in!

    The Empress - Yes, befuddling is a good word for it. Maybe you that's what they should give as a reason. People can't go in to PROTECT them!

    tapirgal - This is the kind of things that amuse and amaze us.

    Rita - Thanks Rita! I've heard about the SD water being third hand. I know for sure that part of what they drink is the run-off from the farms in the Imperial Valley.

  47. Vencora - Hey there! I would love that. Just as long as I get internet!

    Al - When I asked the lady at the store, she said it made no sense to the locals either. There are very few locals...

    Kato - Thanks so much! It's been a while and it's nice to see you here.

    Carol - That's funny! I do that all them time when people have the comments link on the top of a post instead of at the bottom. Thanks for signing on, I appreciate it.

    PTM - Safety first! I can picture a life guard station with a cow on it wearing red shorts and sun glasses. Oh yeah, and zinc oxide on it's snout.

    Anthony - Thanks Anthony! I appreciate that. Speaking of desert, it won't be long before it starts cooling down there. Can't wait!

    Robyn - A "moving" story! That's funny Robyn!

    Ann - Thanks Ann! I've never seen cows wading in water either. Until this place, that is...

    'Tsuki - I hope those cows are using s}nblock!
    James - I have to admit that I'm not that picky about water. If it's cold, I can drink just about anything. In morning and afternoon the cows go to the other end of their pasture area, so they may not have been there to see.

  48. Rek - I hadn't really thought about that until I read your comment. It's so true. Especially rivers!

    Michelle - The cows told us! "Locals only!" they mooed. Thanks for saying that. It's the A.D.D. you know. I know a little bit about a lot of things, and a lot about nothing!

    Pam - thanks Pam! Now that I read Rek's comment, I'm not sure about drinking the water anywhere!

    Nefertiti - Thanks so much!

  49. really, they have cows all around, but no Kayaks? Crazy!

  50. I know there are some lakes used a water sources for town, and while you can't swim in them, you can go boating. That's always puzzled me.

  51. What a great place, great photos. It is funny that cows are allowed in the lake but not people!

  52. The turnstile is classic, as are the photos.

  53. Carly - Yep! Truth stranger than fiction!

    Karin - Me too! The water is always sanitized before drinking anyway. I'm not sure you can sanitize cow poop though...

    Al - Yes, it's funny in more ways than one!

    EG - Yes it is!

    Jerry - I agree Jerry! I was totally surprised to see that turnstile.

  54. I love cows! I grew up on a farm in Brazil! :)
    Anyway about the's always good to use something to filter the water before drinking.
    In our farm we have a well.Pure, fresh and delicious water.
    Here in Luxembourg we only drink mineral water ( even little LUNA ) because the water here is very chalky.
    Great pictures and very nice reflections!
    hugs and a nice week ahead,

  55. Oh, to be a bureaucrat making ridiculous rules that defy any semblance of common sense. Reminds me of a case where a young man was caught peeing in a reservoir. I think it was in Utah. The geniuses in charge decided to drain the reservoir - at a cost of a few hundred thousand dollars - because of it.

    We live among morons.

  56. Tis a pretty place and that water/cow thing is darn scary. Hope you didn't have to portage the kayak too far before you saw the sign.

  57. Hi there - back in the 1940"s in the UK they had huge mass organised trespasses over closed water catchments to force them to be opened up - and guess what - not reduction in water quality!

    Looks like some people could do with a history lesson!

    Cheers - Stewart M

  58. I wonder if Mad Cow Disease is transmitted thru water? Maybe the rules about no human contact was for YOUR protection.

  59. Well, thank heavens you didn't try and kayak through those cows.

    I want to learn to kayak.

    But I have lousy balance.

    And I'm kinda/sorta afraid of water.

    Darn it anyway.

  60. Great images and a great story!! Your adventures are so interesting. Thanks for sharing, Pat!

  61. Ha ha! That's too cool. So glad you're traveling this country to share these fab finds.


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