Professional Urban Hiking

Bernal Hill

Whenever I come home to visit SF my parents and I always make a point to take at least one day together to do an epic city hike. I don’t know if other families do this but we always have and likely always will. It’s just become a family tradition we almost expect of one another whenever we’re together for at least a weekend. I always expect one of my parents to suggest that either Saturday or Sunday we take a long walk, grab lunch and enjoy a fantastic vista from atop a super steep hill. All that walking makes the lunch taste that much better and the view look that much more magical.

I’m not sure if getting older has made me appreciate my parents more or if it’s just something that naturally happens to everyone once they finally move out of their parents’ home. I just know that I can’t believe my parents had me when they were my age. The thought of having a kid right now scares the life out of me and I can’t fathom them doing it way back in the late 80s when it was just a whole different world, with no internet or cell phones. How did they do it? I’m so thankful my parents raised me the way they did. They always encouraged me to try things that I was interested in, no matter if they were just purely creative ventures without a particularly clear end goal. They always encouraged me to seek things off the beaten path and welcome diversity in people, places and experiences. These nostalgic moments of gratitude always hit me when we’re walking around the city together, sometimes for lengthy hours of trudging from the city center to the far ends of Bernal Heights, all the way up the hill, or other times down to Aquatic Park and Pier 39 to see the bustling tourism and seals.

Today we went to a concert at the Knockout Room, which I hadn’t been to in years and certainly never with my parents or in the middle of the afternoon. It dawned on me how cool they really are and how I must have derived some (maybe all) of my coolness–or whatever it is that I derive confidence from–from them. I used to be so embarrassed by them! I remember leaving the house to go somewhere all together when I was around 4th or 5th grade and I wouldn’t let my dad leave the house until he changed his shoes because the way he looked bothered me so much. I’m glad my parents were able to laugh at me (and hopefully less at me and more along with me) during the awkward years called adolescence. Thank god we all grow up eventually.

Someday I’ll probably move back to SF and live in the Mission, Potrero Hill or around Duboce Park and when I do I hope my parents and I will be able to take long weekend urban hikes to new parts of the city we never typically included in our quests. Maybe to Clement Street or out to Stern Grove or even to the Zoo. Maybe to the Presidio and down to Chrissy Field to walk beneath the Bridge. We always have the best talks during our walks and I’m always surprised at how much more I have to learn from them. In the mean time I hope they come visit me in Brooklyn to take long walks around my neck of the woods. It will be beautiful and feel historic and perhaps we’ll manage to walk more because of the more even elevation. Maybe the food tastes better and the views look more beautiful not just because of the effort we’ve put in by walking, but because of the special company we share.

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