Although we love our bikes, we still think of ourselves as pedestrians a lot of the time. This is sort of nice, because riding a bike is so much faster than walking that I always think I’m getting away with murder when I arrive more quickly than I could have on foot. It’s also useful in other circumstances. The other week, we needed to head to the other side of Mt. Sutro when the main road was under construction. So we hoofed it through the cloud forest.
Our route over Mt. Sutro goes through campus on a path that’s closed on weekends to people who lack an access card. In the back of the hospital and clinic buildings are a series of courtyards where the university flattened out a bit of turf here and there. It makes for nice views from the building and gives the kids a chance to run around.
From the main courtyard we head into the forest. The stairs up the hill are why we will never ride our bikes up there. There are people who ride mountain bikes in the cloud forest, but they have to carry them up the stairs. That’s never going to happen with our cargo bikes.
Our daughter didn’t have the stamina to make it up on her own, so Matt carried her for most of the way. It turned out that there were volunteers and city workers out on the trail clearing poison oak so it’s probably just as well she wasn’t walking.
We did actually meet a mountain biker while we were there. He had stopped to let us pass as we came close. I asked if he wanted to get by, and he panted, that no, he was happy to get the rest. I know how that goes. He had carried his bike up the shorter flight of stairs on the other side of the mountain but it’s still a slog.
We came down the the other side and headed to the fire station to play on the trucks, then to the bakery and the hardware store. Our son was too tired to go back up and down the mountain, so on the way back we ended up walking along the closed road that the city was repaving. It’s a shorter walk but was decidedly less pleasant.
It’s such a haul up the hills that we don’t go up Mt. Sutro often, but it always amazes me that there is such a place less than a couple of blocks from where we live. Admittedly those two blocks are almost completely vertical. But San Francisco is so densely populated that it is unnervingly wonderful to walk for a few minutes directly into the dead silence of the forest. It is hard to believe in that moment that this is all part of the city.