We got to Ocean Beach a few minutes before sunset on our last evening in San Francisco. When we moved from the Mission to the Sunset a year and five months ago, I didn’t anticipate developing such an affinity for the quiet streets and wild oceanfront of the city’s western flank. In search of a change of scenery and cheap rent, we landed there mostly because it was near SF State. Now I joke that I can’t see myself ever living east of 42nd Ave.
It was hard to return to work after hiking the JMT in 2016. Usually when I get back from vacation, I feel refreshed and excited. I’m not sure why this time was different. Perhaps it was my approaching 4-year anniversary at Sincerely—I had never worked anywhere longer. I had the itch to go off on an adventure, perhaps attempting something like the PCT. There was only one problem: Stephanie had just started her first semester at SFSU, with 2 years to go before she’d complete her degree.
I was sick the week of Thanksgiving, so we didn’t leave for Death Valley until Friday. Stephanie was instrumental in making sure we got out at all. Tradition! Though I helped with some of the food planning (yogurt, granola, dried fruits, and honey for breakfast; pre-cooked rice and veggies with curry simmer sauce for dinner), she packed our clothing and camping gear and did all of the driving that day.