Next weekend is the Bay To Breakers. For those not from these parts, that is the 7 or so mile race from , you guessed it, the bay to the ocean. I am not participating in the race, but in tribute, Hike #12 finds us heading from the Bay to the Ocean. I chose not to replicate the route, but instead an alternate route slightly to the north. It was about a 9 mile walk with all my meandering. Here’s the route:
Walking San Francisco from end to end in a single day is an amazing experience. It is a movie, a day in the life of the city, one scene at a time. While any of these ambles by default can focus on the path, or the linear, I chose this route in part to maximize being in the spaces this path would encounter. From downtown’s mini-parks, plazas and steps, to the alleys of Chinatown, to overgrown vacant lots,then the formal parks of Nob Hill and Pacific Heights, through to the wild edges of the Presidio, and ending in glorious Land’s End. In short a green necklace as embraced by the locals
The character of the spaces themselves follows the built-arc of the city, from structured hard-scape, sometimes not even on the ground, to formal parks with well defined spaces, to gradually wilder lands at the western edges. And in walking along and through these spaces, I saw a city alternatingly at work, at play, at rest. Even on a weekday, the spaces were bursting with activity:
I saw people at lunch, alone, buried in their phones; homeless with backpacks and sleeping bags ruminating on a downtown park bench; pairs of stressed out workers, smoking and complaining about their boss; the cacophony of men playing and watching checkers in Portsmouth Square, dowagers on Nob Hill with their poodles getting sun, teenagers on a swing-set, with toddlers watching and parents aghast, girls warming up before softball, golfers teeing off, dog walkers with their brood all a-tangle, sea-cliff mansions over-run with gardeners, German tourists lost in Land’s End, two newlyweds being photographed in a forest, and finally, a man watching his cap blow away in the stiff ocean breeze, gradually descending to the surf, one rock at a time.
Quite a city. Quite a walk:
Hike 11: 9 Miles