Then in 2011, my luck changed. Twelve years after vowing to eventually live in the Bay area and not just be a visitor, I got my first distant gig here—living in the redwoods on Skyline Blvd, and working in San Mateo and Half Moon Bay. I didn’t need to be in the city itself. I discovered that living on the peninsula was better for me; I was in the woods, but only a short drive to civilization.
I have been blessed to return often, not just for visits with friends but for jobs. I am so lucky to be spending my fourth winter in the Bay area, my third with my canine partner along side me. We’re living in the city proper this year, but have found an eclectic place with enough character to make us feel like when we step outside, we will be in a redwood forest.
It seems we have done almost all the trails around here, and yet I know that can’t be true. While there are a few tried and true places to return to, I still seek to find new places.
One such place is McNee Ranch. Half way between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, just south of Pacifica is an open space east of the highway, overlooking Montara Beach.
Due to lack of parking at the trailhead, I parked at Montara Beach, and Tucker and I made the harrowing race across Highway 1. I felt as if I was playing Frogger and hoping I did better in real life than I did at the video game.
The beginning portion felt a little Los Angeles with its dusty trail and low sagebrush along the sides. Up the hill we went toward a blue sky.
We stood a spell, not only to enjoy the view but to catch my breath before ascending further up the trail. We went eastward, up the hills, where no houses stood. When I paused and turned around, I saw the echo of Southern California’s Wisdom Tree.
While the Los Angeles tree sits atop a Hollywood Hill as the only survivor of a wildfire some decades ago, here stands this tree, seemingly the only survivor of some ancient storm, now holding sentinel over the ocean.
Along the way, we found and followed a short trail to find a bench.