My Upstate New York childhood autumns were highlighted by breathtaking red, orange and yellow October leaves, intoxicatingly crisp air, and the smell of grass and hay fading from their summer glory.
Ranking a close second after my beloved autumn was winter, with pristine white snow and the bite of subzero temperatures bringing a mental and physical clarity I’ve only experienced in the cold.
Spring ranked third, with daffodils pushing up through patches of snow, stubborn creek ice melting, and red-winged blackbirds returning.
In fourth place came summer. As school ended, anticipating creeks to explore, ice cream stands to visit, and swimming holes to dive into was exciting for about a day and a half, but then I’d feel antsy without a regular routine.
Living near the beach in San Francisco, our seasonal ebbs and flows are less dramatic. We have chilly foggy days, humid foggy days, cool sunny days, rainy days (when we’re lucky in these drought times), and once in a while, a really hot day that feels like the best summer days from my childhood walking barefoot along the edge of an Adirondack lake.
Here my barefoot walks are on beaches along the Pacific Ocean. Though many of us fog folk enjoy the first day of a heat wave, we tolerate the second, and are begging for the fog to come back by day three. Still somehow, that old sense of summer freedom and adventure wells up when temperatures first rise.
A walk where the water meets the sand, sand dollars and polished stones interspersed with seaweed in artful patterns, sounds like the perfect outing on those days. May we all keep putting one foot forward, with an occasional chance to leave footprints in wet sand.
This week’s HikingAutism Hike Notes from the archives is Ocean Beach – South End, a wide stretch of beach at the western edge of San Francisco that offers long walks and views of ships heading for San Francisco Bay.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 92): Ocean Beach – South End
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