For the first time since coming back to San Francisco in January, I had everything I needed for a saunter across the city in the sun: a means of taking photos / videos, a pair of sunglasses, no work, no plans, and no excuse.

On the morning of July 4th, I decided to spend the next couple of days offline. I read a book, and decided to go for a walk the rest of the day. I didn’t have any expectations or intended destination. I left my apartment at 2pm and decided to walk west, as I haven’t spent any proper time on that side of the city.

I passed through a couple of small parks and quiet neighbourhoods before hitting the edge of The Presidio.

The long road towards The Presidio

At this point, I realised how long it had been since I’d seen a large expanse of something approximating nature. The Presidio was beautifully tranquil, with just a handful of people strolling or running through the trees. Walking off the trails, I saw a lizard for the first time in years; probably a San Francisco Alligator Lizard.

A path at the entrance to The Presidio

I exited The Presidio somewhere near the golf course and picked a long road to keep walking west.

On the way, I hit a main road and stood at the traffic lights. While I waited a young woman walking her dog struck up the first of several impromptu conversations I had with strangers that day. She must have seen me looking around for the street name, as she asked, “Are you lost? Are you a tourist? Where are you going?”

“I’m not sure. That way”, I said pointing down the long road before us.

She laughed. “See, you are lost!”

We chatted for a few blocks before our paths diverged. She told me that I would find some nice trails, and a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge, in the woodland near Lands End. It was dead ahead for another 30 minutes. So that’s where I went.

Part of the Lands End Trail

I hit the trails at about 4:30pm. It must have been close to perfect weather. Really sunny, warm, only a mild breeze, and the bay was completely clear. I wandered around for over an hour; perching near the edge of cliffs, taking in the sight of the Golden Gate Bridge on my right and a vast expanse of ocean to my left. Such a relaxing place.

The northern coast of San Francisco at the entrance to the Lands End trail

The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the Lands End trail

The cliffs of the Lands End trail, looking out over the Pacific Ocean

I made time for a Dorsey-like Vine (my first Vine)…

On the way back, I crossed a road to take a photo. A post-middle-age man crossed my path, struck up a conversation, and began to tell me about his life in San Francisco “back in the day”. As if he could peer into my soul, he assured me that there was nothing wrong with being a software engineer (although he did initially think I was an estate agent; that was one of the first things he said to me).

My spirits further lifted by a stranger’s validation, I continued home. For last 30 minutes all I could think about was lying down, resting my feet, and eating. I’d been walking for nearly 6 hours. I’ll definitely do it again, but a skateboard would be helpful next time.