San Fran > Wine Country: Let There Be Light

"What had I been so afraid of the night before?"

View of Bonita Bay & the Golden Gate Bridge from a hiking trail near my campsite. 

I made it through the night parasite free, I think. Didn’t sleep very well though. The wind kept caving my tarp in onto my face and every time I heard the slightest crinkle I reached for my machete. I had tucked my pants into my socks and chose my snuggiest cold weather sleeping bag so that I could cocoon up and completely keep the vampires out. This made me really hot, but it wasn’t about comfort at this point, it was about not getting the head of a deer tick lodged into my dermis. Kept having really weird dreams, too. In the early morning I finally fell into a deep three hours or so. Woke up to voices and the realization that my tarp had almost completely usurped my body. I crawled out of my pseudo-tent/hay bed into the daylight and took a walk down to the edge of the cliff. I was looking down at Bonita Bay, there was a lighthouse to my right, the Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown SF to my left. Between the two was blue water as far as the eye could see, and hiking trails surrounded my back. What had I been so afraid of the night before? I got in my exercise gear & ran up the nearest hill to get a better view. Did some handstands & yoga poses up there before running sprints all the way down to the lighthouse and back. Lighthouse was so nice I had to see it twice, so I quickly washed my face and netherparts and threw on some fresh clothes to go explore further. If I hadn’t already loved San Francisco, I fell deeper in love this day. 

Point Bonita Lighthouse

Getting a different view.

Decided to spend the day having a love affair with the city. I crossed back over the Golden Gate to see Haight & Ashbury—a place I’d always heard of, but never visited. Meh. Maybe I just didn’t know which places to go there, but I couldn’t figure out why the hype. I was enjoying the ups and downs of the city’s geography and the awesome architecture, but I was ultimately searching for WiFi and food and just couldn’t seem to find exactly what I’d had my heart set on. I guess I had in mind a cool SF café with bagels, lattes and a speedy internet connection. Not having a data plan prevents me from easily mapping these things out, so simple tasks turn into full-blown adventures. Not mad about it—this is the life I chose. I got back into my car and drove around more. After hitting about five different neighborhoods and searching an hour or so for something I just could not find, also getting fed up with the lack of parking, I found another Starbucks (of course) with an open, metered spot directly out front. Faaackin’ Starbucks! My ultimate love/hate relationship. Fed the meter 30 cents before I realized you can’t even pay parking meters in American currency these days. Credit or debit only? “The easier way to pay!” they say. Right, because shoving coins in a hole isn’t easy enough... Now a tad pissed and remembering why I dislike the city, I sat down in Starbucks to post a blog, pics on social media, touch base with my people again, map out some campsite options & this time decided to get cracked out on espresso since I hadn’t eaten all day. Shit, 5 o’clock: rush hour. It was time to get to my next spot and get settled. The rush to beat the sunset began again.

Sonoma it was. I’ve always wanted to spend some time in wine country. I ended up jetting out west a little after Santa Rosa where a bum flipped his shit inside the Chevron I stopped at for gas. As I grabbed cheese & chocolate I thought to myself, “City problems.”

The drive west through the vineyards was a scene from a storybook. I was surrounded by rows and rows of green, then would periodically be swallowed by lush tunnels of trees where beams of the dimming sunlight would leak through patchy holes in the branches. The air was crisp and fresh and reminded me a bit of home. The place I’d mapped out turned out to be an overbooked RV dump in the middle of Wine Mecca. Merp. I’d seen one a bit further back and flipped a U to go check it out—Schoolhouse Canyon Campsite, an absolute jewel nestled into the redwoods with acres of private land exclusively for campers to explore and enjoy.

The acreage spread along the Russian River and boasted swimming holes, an old orchard, a tree swing, and plenty of picnic tables. And I had made it just in time for the meteor shower. Yas! I bought some firewood and sparked one up to kill time until the stargazing show—my first fire of the trip, and it was magnificent. I ate cheese & chocolate, drank wine, and played my guitar as the fire crackled and infiltrated every thread of my clothing with its distinctive scent. Later, accompanied by my machete, I walked down to the river. I layed on my yoga mat under the blanket of stars while the moon’s reflection bounced off the calm water of the river; my thought slipped out as a whisper that disappeared into the night’s air: “What a world.”

What. A. World. 

Chelsea HeilComment