They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. However, that isn’t exactly how this journey to find the iconic corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco began. It actually began as a way to honor a request from a dear friend who just insisted that I throw some flowers in my hair, transport myself back to the sixties, and take a photograph of myself at the apex of the most famous street corner from the amazing era of flower power, love and peace man, peace.
So, you would think in this day and age of electronics, that finding a street corner as famous as Haight/Ashbury would be easy, well, you would be wrong. But, I was on a mission, a mission from God (if you don’t get the reference we can no longer be friends). As it happens, San Francisco is a pretty damn big place, especially if you are a small town girl like me. It’s not as if you just walk around any old corner in the city and poof, Haight/Ashbury magically appears like an oasis filled with hippies, acid, and an abundance of weed. Although, if you’ve eaten enough mushrooms I guess it might.
My intended bus ride of 15 minutes, turned into more like an hour. I finally asked someone, "does this bus not go to Golden Gate Park?" "Yes it does" they informed me, with a look of pity in their eyes, "back there" they pointed in the direction we had just come. "You missed your stop about 20 minutes ago." Shit. Someone, who was kind enough not to point out that I was a complete idiot, then told me to get off the bus, cross the proverbial road, and hop the next on coming bus to the park. They were also kind enough to tell me which bus stop I should look for. So off the bus I go, across said street, and on to the next bus which, by chance, didn’t actually go all the way to the park. So off the bus I go, again, where I finally catch a bus going in the right direction, to the right park and the right bus stop. Score. Sort of…Now, I’m not sure if you are familiar with the Golden Gate Park but that shit is immense. It’s like 20,000 freaking acres. Not to worry, I had my phone to google map it. And so off I went to hike all the way across that stupid park. Oh, I mean that really cool park. Until what? You got it, my phone dies. Did I say shit earlier? Well, I second the motion.
Now I was on my own. Sort of, but not really. At least some of the folks in the park knew the area and after a couple of polite and extremely helpful conversations, I zeroed in on my goal. And before you knew it, only two hours after I started my foray in to the great expanse know as San Francisco, I found myself staring up at the sign. There is was in all its glory; the iconic corner of Haight/Ashbury, and there just above the sign, the clock which is perpetually on 4:20. I had made it, finally.
As I began taking a few photos, a young man who happened to be working cleaning the streets, gave
You know, they say everything happens for a reason. Had I not gotten lost for an hour, had my phone not died, had I not taken my time strolling along through the Golden Gate Park, I would not have gotten such an iconic picture to share with my friend and with the world. The powers that be came together, at the right place, at the right time, and with the right people in place. Thank you universe, you rock.
I won’t go into my journey back to Fisherman’s Wharf but I will say, I spent the night sleeping in my truck on the top of a parking garage with the city sky line twinkling overhead, feeling every bit the hippie/adventurer. I fell asleep thinking about the freedom was I lucky enough to be experiencing and the roads still head of me, the roads still...less traveled.