Sunday, July 29, 2012

Golden Gate Bridge - July 17, '12

Walking Distance: 3.6 mi.
Walking Time: 3 hrs., 47 min. (11:33 a.m. - 3:20 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Marin Vista Point parking lot, Marin, CA

Today was a great day to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (shown as a solid red line trail on the Bay Trail map). Thank you to Cindy for joining me today. We started from the Vista Point parking lot on the Marin (north) side of the Bridge; and, from there, it was a very short and easy walk to the sidewalk/bridge approach, to walk south across the bridge toward San Francisco.

This (east) side walkway for pedestrians faced inward toward the Bay and City, and offered sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, Fort Point (at the foot of the SF side) and Lime Point (near the footing/end on the Marin side), San Francisco, Alcatraz and Angel Island. It was a bit crowded, with mixed bicycle, pedestrian and bridge crew work vehicle traffic jostling for position on the east side of the bridge walkway. (The west side (facing west, out toward the Pacific Ocean) was closed, and opened to bicycles after 3 p.m. we were told.)

During my first walk around the Bay, I crossed the Bridge at night, during the colder months. It was too dark to see any wildlife. A highlight of today's walk was looking down into the water, viewing boats that were passing underneath the bridge, and watching harbor porpoises (including a mother and offspring) swim and surface in the waters below. Identifying birds from above was fun as well. Unfortunately, I did not have a working camera charger (and therefore working camera with a zoom lens) on this walk, and was not able to catch the harbor porpoises in action. The porpoises are apparently making a comeback which is great to hear.

The fog drifted across the bridge in drifts during the walk (south) across the bridge, but cleared during our lunch stop at the Information station/gift shop and The Bridge Cafe. We walked a bit around on the San Francisco hillside before walking back to the Marin side of the bridge where we'd parked. There were patches of blue sky and warm sun on our walk back, and cloud shadows drifted over the surface of the Bay.

Wildlife Sightings:
33 sea gulls; 4 harbor seals; 5 harbor porpoises; 1 sea lion; 2 snowy egrets; 2 terns; 2 brown pelicans; 17 cormorants; 2 pigeons; 2 little brown jobs (LBJs); 12 Western/Clarks Grebes (near Fort Point)