I was 21 when I found my cave.
I took a bus to get as far north from San Francisco as I could, and hitched a ride to the John Muir Forest. That night, I camped in a fallen, hollow tree, which kept me dry from the rain. I did that sort of thing back then. I didn’t care what strangers thought. I napped on park benches, spoke my mind and never worried about what I wore. Travelling alone sharpened something in me, called upon inner resources I didn’t know I possessed. Years later I’d wonder whatever happened to that girl.
The next day, I hitched a ride with a couple en route to Point Reyes national seashore. We drove a long way on a lonely, winding road through rolling hills. We hiked down a path to a crescent-shaped cove with red sandstone cliffs and a stream running toward the ocean. As the sun started to set, I saw its rays igniting the sandstone cliffs into a cayenne blaze. That’s when I spotted the cave.