The Sea Ranch
The Sea Ranch stood for 50 years before I had either heard of it or stepped foot on it. Well, that first part isn’t exactly true. It did come up once back in a college Art History course…but I digress.
The Sea Ranch stood for 50 years before I had either heard of it or stepped foot on it. Well, that first part isn’t exactly true. It did come up once back in a college Art History course…but I digress. I could easily ramble on and on about what The Sea Ranch is, how it came into being and who the people were that brought the whole thing to life. While all of that is indeed a compelling story, that’s not mystory.
While it would be easy for me to say that my story more or less begins in 2005 in the fine city of Oakland, it doesn’t really get going until we moved to The Sea Ranch. So let’s start things off there:
The year was 2015 and it was the month of December. The Sea Ranch was just gearing down from its rounds of Semicentennial celebrations, and the first of the infamous Sonoma Coast winter storms was only days away. My husband and I pulled up to the bottom of the hill we now live on for the first time, with our cat and only a few meager essentials with us in our rental car. The rest of our belongings would not be with us until some days later.
It was while we were unpacking the car and schlepping everything up to our cabin that it hit me: we were finally here. And by “here” I don’t necessarily mean The Sea Ranch per se, I mean home.
“Peace here isn’t just an isolated moment, like one has in the city. It’s ongoing, continual.” —Zdena Berger, Hadassah Magazine, 2009
There wasn’t anything around us except for trees. Trees as tall and as far as you could see. Some dappled light broke through the canopy here and there, and the claps of waves crashing upon the shore a couple of miles away ringed in the air. Gone were the sirens, the roar of countless cars on freeways, and the endless streams of voices from numerous people idling about. We drove into Gualala to grab a pizza to go and a bottle of wine for dinner and we lit the most pathetic of fires in our new wood burning stove. Darkness crept through the woods and the world vanished.
We woke to the sun shining brightly through the windows, exposing the forest again to our sleep-filled eyes. There was no feeling of displacement like previous moves had given me—instead there was only a calm serenity and the strongest of desires to get outside into the woods as quickly as we could.
We spent the day trekking along the well maintained trails without a map and did remarkably well considering its absence. Again, the feeling that we were finally here overwhelmed me. I insisted that we head to the Association office to get a map. There were a little over 50 miles of trails just out our door, and I wanted to hike them all as fast as I could. The next few months would find me obsessed with this endeavor, and we did indeed walk every inch of the official trails.
Fast forward to today…Its two years later (almost to the day), and its a rare day that we don’t get out on the trails for some amount of time. The soles of my Redwing boots—which were brand new upon our arrival in 2015—are unevenly worn and in need of repair…but they keep my feet dry and they’re still good enough to keep me going. I make use of an activity tracker during each and every hike, and I’m almost shocked to see how many miles in aggregate I’ve walked just on The Sea Ranch: 1,357. That’s roughly the equivalent of walking all 50 miles of its trails 27 times. I’m proud of this accomplishment and I don’t feel that I’m gloating. Rather, I feel it exemplifies my enthusiasm and commitment to here.