This was the scene of the first backpacking trip my dad decided I was old enough to carry all of my own gear. I know that my hips and calves must have ached the next morning, but all I really remember is that on the first night, the fog broke and the stars appeared and I refused to sleep in the tent because I was afraid to miss any of it so I slept on a picnic table some stoic ranger had built in the middle of nowhere and I listened to the elephant seals and the waves and stretched my fingers to the sky until I fell asleep. And I fell so deeply in love that I knew whatever I did in my life, it would be dedicated to protecting these places and those quiet moments. •
I got a job halfway through grad school working for an environmental mediation firm on the designation of Marine Protected Areas off the coast of California. It deepened my appreciation for how much work goes into protecting these places. Every time I stand on these shores, I think of all the people who work so hard to protect the fragile areas, the rugged coastline, the elephant seals, and the wonder and awe of a 13 year old girl.