Last night I went for a walkabout... well, a walk-jog-runabout. Ended up on top of Bernal Summit, in Bernal Heights. This always feels like a mild accomplishment because psychologically, Bernal seems far away from Glen Park. But in reality it's really close, and the summit is easily obtained by breaking it down into a few short segments:
1) home to bernal cut path
2) bernal cut path to holly park
ROTATE around the circular hill of holly park like you're an hour hand on a clock that's being adjusted-- enjoy the relatively rare 360 panorama view of SF.... keep going round till you get to bocana street exit
3) exit holly park up bocana street to base of bernal summit
Here you could take the chossy path straight up, but I went against my intuitive desire (always be climbing, always take stairs) and ran downhill around the base of the summit...
4) take the trail from base of bernal summit to the top . DONE
Sun was setting, beautiful shadows. I was motivated to get off the summit fast though since it would be no fun at all to have to take the rocky trail down in the dark!
Every time I run to Bernal I think about the adult-sized slide that exists somewhere near the summit base. I can never remember exactly where it is. Sure I could look it up on google maps but for some reason that feels like cheating to me.
This time like every other I thought about the slide, and thought "one of these days I should just look it up and commit the location to memory. Ah well."
I headed back down from the summit base, picking an exit street at random. Well actually I picked the exit where there was a nice staircase down. Too dark to mess with scrabbly rock trails.
Lo and behold, guess what I came across! Bernal Slide!! Or, as Yelp calls it, Esmerelda Street Slide
The slide was gleaming. It looked brand new. Must have been refurbished since the last time I was there.
I walked over to the top and slid down, expecting a slow, herky-jerky trip down. Normally there's a lot of friction and the only way you can get a fun ride down is to sit on a piece of cardboard. (which I didn't feel like dredging up)
But to my surprise, I slid down quickly and even picked up some genuine steam at the bottom! I cackled unconsciously, for a moment truly enjoying myself. Idiot glee. The slide shot me out with speed and I landed just barely on my feet, on a rubber exit pad that also seemed brand new.
Props to whatever neighborhood association fixed this thing up!
I had to ride it one more time. It was again a thrilling ride, mainly because at the end you come out fast enough that it's a bit scary. You're trying not to sprain an ankle on the dismount.
A jogger passed down the stairs next to me in the twilight, smiling at the sight of me. His smile made me laugh again.
At the beginning and end of the walkabout, my head was filled with woes. But this brief unexpected encounter w/ the slide was a moment of pure joy.