Magazine article Sunset

Crossing Over

Magazine article Sunset

Crossing Over

Article excerpt

CHUGGING UP STEEP HIGHWAY 120, heading toward Yosemite, we pulled over at Priest Station Cafe. Technically, the roadside stop is near Groveland, about 140 miles east of San Francisco. Atmospherically, it feels like a portal to the Great American West. From the outdoor tables, you look back across the oak-dotted foothills you've just left; that way lies civilization. To the east, you look into wilderness, a gateway to some serious mountains.

At the cafe, there were rock climbers to the right of us, talking their technical talk, and backpackers to the left of us, chowing down before disappearing into Yosemite. We were all between the lives we spend on freeways and in cities and the lives we find in nature. Maybe everyone was just hungry, but I'd like to think that we all felt the need to stop and mark the passing from one kind of life to another.

In the West, we can cross over all the time, in just a day. We can drive out of Seattle and end up in Mt. Rainier's awesome shadow. We can head out of San Diego and watch the sun set in the Mojave Desert, the Joshua trees turning black against the sky. …

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