I’m a city girl at heart. Born and raised in San Francisco, I made the decision to move to New York City for college and ended up staying for nearly ten years! I recently moved back to my hometown and have never appreciated this city more. I love the fact that I have access to everything a major city boasts -restaurants, nightlife, shopping and culture- while also having everything Mother Nature has to offer so close by. The beach, the mountains, the forests and national parks are all so easily accessible to San Franciscans, much unlike my experience as a New Yorker living in the Big Apple.
My first weekend excursion once back in the Bay Area was to Huddart Park in Woodside, about 40 minutes south of the city. I packed up the car with some much needed snacks which included yogurt covered pretzels, smoked almonds, dried fruits and jerky, in addition to a six pack of Foundation Fitness protein-based energy drinks (find them at Walmart!). My new afternoon pick-me-up beverage of choice is their cold brew selection which combines Arabica coffee with 20 grams of collagen protein.
At over 900 acres, this park is pretty huge and features endless hiking trails through the redwood forests. My day was spent on numerous trails, wandering wherever we felt nature was calling. The feeling of being surrounded by ancient, looming redwoods is mysteriously calming. Being able to simply sit within the forest in complete solitude makes for the perfect opportunity to meditate, reflect on life and check in with how one’s feeling. And that’s exactly what I did.
There are few more peaceful experiences I’ve had than sitting on a giant stump, listening to the variety of birds chirping, the wind blowing and random ruffles in the shrubbery. So often the days fly by without me even noticing the weather, let alone taking the time to gauge where my head’s at. So I’ve come to really cherish the moments where I get away from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city and give myself the chance to take some deep breaths, appreciate the natural beauty around me and remember that life is too short to freak out about all the little things.
One of the things I love about hiking is that it’s as strenuous as you make it. Not being on a fast and furious pace allowed me to notice things like deer in the distance grazing on dead grass, little jack rabbits scurrying across the path and even yellow banana slugs slowly making their way to wherever it is those slimy guys call home. At one point I heard the rushing of a small ravine and followed it until I found a comfortable spot to enjoy my snacks and Foundation Fitness cold brew. Though absolutely freezing, I couldn’t help but dip my toes in the icy cold water to cool off just a bit. Refreshed, satisfied and more emotionally fulfilled than I ever thought a day of hiking solo could make me feel, I made my way back to the city I love.