The Unexpected Path
Recent birthday goals:
Take the full day off. Finally try that restaurant we’d read about. Visit the Marine Mammal Center.
Top goal: New hike, a short steep climb to a high ridge above the Golden Gate Bridge.
Work deadlines inescapable. Strike one.
Restaurant closed. Strike two.
Road to Marine Mammal Center blocked. Strike three.
Also blocked: The road to the trailhead for our short ridge hike. We drove in loops trying to find a way around the traffic obstruction. No luck.
We’d driven by a sign for a base-of-the-bridge trailhead parking lot — which stared at us just before our roadblock — countless times. Not being visible from the road, we’d always been leery about turning in there. Here was our chance to try it.
Our morning arrival won us an open parking spot. First good luck of the day.
Between the trailhead signs and our map, we realized that we could still get to our original ridge destination. Original plan: 0.4 mile steep climb up, easy 0.4 mile downhill return. Roadblock alternative option: A steep and twisty 3.2 mile loop.
The switchback trail cut back and forth as we gradually ascended above the Golden Gate Bridge, stunning views of Alcatraz and Angel Island, the San Francisco cityscape, and Marin county at every turn. Blustery winds threatened to steal hats toward the top, but we arrived unscathed at our connecting trail. A short steep climb up Slacker Ridge rewarded us with a 360 degree view over Marin and San Francisco.
No full day off. No new restaurant experience. No animal rescue center visit.
But we ended up on an amazing trail that we weren’t expecting. It was longer and more grueling than what we had planned, but it was really beautiful along the way.
Yes indeed, you may insert your own life analogy here. We start life endeavors with a plan. Almost invariably, the path we end up on strays from what we first envisioned. With luck, some of the unexpected challenges may be counterbalanced by unanticipated joys.
This week’s Hike Notes describe our surprisingly wonderful unexpected path, Slacker Ridge from Golden Gate Bridge, a steep and twisty hike that offers dramatic vistas with each rise in elevation.
Please feel free to share. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photos!
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New this week:
Hike Notes 21: Slacker Ridge from Golden Gate Bridge
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.