Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bay to Breakers vs. Half Moon Bay hike

I woke up this morning to my roommates and a visiting friend prancing the house in wrestler and superman costumes. They were in rare form for 6am, but fittingly so. Today was Bay to Breakers in San Francisco. It's an annual run that takes throngs of runners, walkers, beer guzzlers, and exhibitionists from the Bay to the Beach.

Despite the fact that I am usually up for running events in any shape or form, for example, I LOVE the Hash. Particularly in random foreign countries. I had a craving to take advantage of our *finally* empty house and one of countless gorgeous hikes in the Bay Area on such a beautiful day. A quick Google search later, paring down potential hiking routes by length (wanted 7 miles), difficulty (wanted it tough), and location (nowhere near a beach because of traffic), I came across this one:

It was absolutely wonderful ... once I got over my fear of mountain lions - there was a warning sign at the trailhead. Within my first half mile of descent into the North Ridge Trail, I asked another lone female hiker if I should worry. She was blonde and weathered in that I've-been-on-a-million-hikes and eat-only-what-I-grow-in-my-garden way. I loved her multicolored compression pants, mostly because they didn't seem to fit her "look." Her response:

"It's more dangerous to drive on Skyline to get here ... or to sit on your couch and become a couch potato. Don't worry about the lions, I've lived here for 21 years and never seen one in my life. Nor has my husband and he's an ultramarathoner, so he's seen a lot. That said, I do carry a knife as a last resort."

I thanked her and went on my way, imagining what it would be like to pull out my knife while being mauled by a mountain lion. I didn't like the thought. It was one that entered my mind periodically through the 2.5 hour walk, between taking photographs of rocks and flowers, when everything became a little too silent for comfort.