Review: San Diego to San Francisco: An artful tale of walking California
Two vast private ranches lie just north of Santa Barbara, the path blocked by a locked gate and a guardhouse, with roads patrolled by men in pickups. But Nick Neely, author of “Coast Range” and a poetry and nonfiction MFA grad, is in the middle of an epic quest: to walk the California Mission route from San Diego to San Francisco. He is following roughly the same 650-mile expedition undertaken by Father John Crespi and Captain Gaspar de Portolá in 1769. The moon is nearly full along California’s Central Coast. Neely naps a bit, gulps an energy drink and hoists his pack just as the sun winks out. The going feels good as he walks the railroad tracks through the ranches. That is until he hits an 811-foot bridge over a deep and dark canyon. A train going 40 miles per hour could cover that distance in 14 seconds. Neely takes another step. It’s a rare moment of tension in an otherwise well-mannered and thoughtful book, “Alta California,” which so often showcases Neely’s artful observations.
Book / 9781640091658 / Nick Neely / November 5, 2019 / 1 / ..:::