March 13, 2004

Just came back from a late-afternoon hike in a not-so-well-traveled
part of town: Sutro Forest. Melissa and I parked on quaint Belmont
Street in Cole Valley and our mouths dropped open as we passed one
darling vine-smothered house after another. We knew we were in a
different world, already. At the cul-de-sac, we found a trailhead and
entered the forest, where might I add, it was already twilight because
of the thick canopy of tree tops overhead. It was almost magical. This
was the kind of forest that Totoro would live in if he lived in the
city and not the Japanese countryside. It was silent and still in the
forest, save for a small black cat that stared at us on the way in and
the creak of the gangly eucalyptus trees as their branches moved about
in the ever so slightest of breezes. I almost expected one of them to
say, hrm hoom. [Thanks to Matt for the LOTR ref. đŸ™‚ ] The
quietness and solitude of this green sanctuary took us aback. It was
almost as if we had stepped into another world. We kept saying aloud, are we still in the city?

The
trail was well-kept in some places, but in others, definitely not.
Let’s just say that we did our own share of trailblazing, wading
through overgrown shrubbery and heaps upon heaps of fallen tree
branches. Eventually, we found ourselves at the east perimeter of the
forest and night was encroaching. It was time to look for a way out. We
made it to the end of a few trails but found that they just fed into
peoples’ backyards. We panicked for a bit and then decided very quickly
to retrace our steps and go back the way we came. Not wanting to be
stuck in the forest at nightfall, we seriously hauled. Literally, we
sprinted. At the rate we were going, I barely made it, I was so out of
shape. Our efforts were rewarded by making it back into civilization
(i.e., a UCSF residence complex on Johnstone Street) before the sun
went down. We made it out! Relieved and exhausted, we walked through a
maze of hilly Cole Valley streets, even passing the gelateria on
Parnassus where we heavily considered a purchase of gelato, before
making it back to Belmont, where my car was still parked. Both
satisfied and spent, we sank into the seats of my car and drove home.

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