Behind This Post
Stories from the Trail is a blog series focused on capturing and retelling special moments from our Trail Rides program. We will highlight lessons learned, unexpected discoveries, and moments of pure joy our program youth experience on the trail. These stories convey a variety of perspectives including those of our dedicated ride leaders, volunteers, and youth.
An Unforgettable Trip to Ocean Beach
By Adam Smith, Ride Program Manager
Offshore storms over the Pacific Ocean had triggered a high surf warning for the Bay Area during the third week of January 2018. Waves 15 feet tall were recorded crashing ashore along the coastline, too rough for even the saltiest surfer. Fortunately, being a youth mountain biking organization, the high surf warning wasn’t much of a concern as we began our first ride of the year with the Mission Graduates/Good Samaritan after-school program, our most frequent riding partner.
When a group vote was taken whether to ride to the ocean or the beautiful playground at the opposite end of Golden Gate Park, all hands rose for the Pacific. Little did we know what an excellent decision that would prove to be.
As we neared the shore, we stopped in awe as the Big Blue came into view. Waves higher than I had ever seen at Ocean Beach rolled in an angry surf. The kids were just as excited as I was, their mouths wide open as we pedaled up to the sand. “Look how big they are! I’ve never seen waves so big!” they said.
After assessing that the waves were breaking far enough from shore that it was safe to proceed, we parked the bikes and ran down to the water’s edge to find a heavenly scene. Sea foam, whipped up by the churning saltwater, scattered the beach like tiny cumulus clouds floating over the desert. It was magical. The kids ran around kicking and jumping in the foam appearing as though they were flying as the water reflected the sky and clouds above.
It was one of those special moments that you live for as an outdoor educator. Not distracted by their phones or the stresses of life, the kids were immersed entirely in the moment experiencing the wonders of nature.
This is why we do what we do. These are our moments in the clouds.