In the heart of San Francisco, there is a place so serene you can’t hear the honking of car horns or the ringing of cell phones or the chatter of daily life. In place of skyscrapers, towering eucalyptus trees are blanketed by a dense fog. It’s a marvel to look up and see an occasional leaf twirling down from nothingness. The crevices of the mountainside dive steeply downhill and are shrouded in varying shades of green and brown from the array of flora. The air smells of fresh dew and branches whip, crack and snap from the wind. It’s almost strange this place exists dead in the center of a metropolis like San Francisco.
For many folks, my parents included, the Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve was a saving grace during the hardest months of the pandemic. It was a place where San Franciscans could experience immense nature without leaving the city. It was a place where we could speak to strangers again, albeit from a distance, because we were outside and had a shared talking point other than COVID: the beauty of this hike. After living in New York City from the fall of 2019 through December of 2020, I was yearning for any sort of escape to nature when I moved back to San Francisco in January.