Goodbye, Santa Barbara and Los Padres National Forest
Saying goodbye is always hard. Especially for me. Especially when saying goodbye through the eyes of my daughter. She is the sweetest and most imaginative person you could ever meet. Trust me, I am her father. She made good friends at her school and dojo while she was here.
To see the choices I make in my life (some of these choices were made for me) cause her anxiety and sadness has been one of the hardest things I've had to endure. I was lucky enough to have lived in the same house until I was 22, with a very stable childhood.
As I sit on the last remaining piece of furniture as the movers load my stuff onto the truck before they head to San Diego, I reflect on how this is the fourth move for us in three years. There is some good news about this:
- Two of the moves have been in the same area, so there wasn't a lot of change
- Each move allowed (forced?) us to purge a lot of unnecessary things; we run pretty lean now
- The reason to move from San Diego in the first place was because of a great job with talented and smart people
- We are moving back to San Diego into our old house, with family nearby, so it feels like home
Some regrets? Not that many. I've made some solid friends in Santa Barbara, friends I know I will see over the years. Many of these friends insist on being invited to the opening of our restaurant in Escondido. I do not have a problem with this.
There are so many corners of Los Padres National Forest I didn't get to explore. It is just so vast and I had a busy 3 years here. My friend Craig is dumbfounded by the areas of LPNF that I haven't hiked yet. I have promised to come back. There are many places I have yet to see, and the gateway to the forest is just a train ride away.
Favorite moments? There are too many to count, but here they are.
- Entering Dry Lakes Ridge and finding peace on a day hike
- Spending the night with friends in Montgomery Potrero
- Spending time on Nordhoff Ridge with Craig
- Exploring a drainage in the Matilija with a fun group
- Backpacking Reyes Peak with my daughter
- Having a cool time on a hot day in Wheeler Gorge with my daughter
- Countless times at the beach
Santa Barbara feels like a happy and interesting chapter in an evolving book. You never know where life will take you. Will I live here again? Not sure, but I will definitely be back to hike in the backcountry.
Goodbye, Santa Barbara.