Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sausalito-Marin - Aug. 10, '12

Walking Distance: 2.4 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 14 min. (7:12 - 8:26 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Shopping center parking lot, Harbor Drive and Marinship Way, Sausalito, CA

This evening I took advantage of the longer daylight hours of summer and took a walk in northern Sausalito. Fingers of fog were starting to roll over the hills, cooling things down.

First, however, I needed dinner.

I checked out "Fish," a restaurant at the (east) end of Harbor Drive, by the water; it looked great. But, I was in a hurry to do some walking before dark.

So I hiked back up toward Bridgeway and I bought dinner at Mollie Stone's off Harbor Drive, near the intersection with Marinship/Bridgeway. This local grocery store always seems to have a great selection of high-quality foods that are also portable enough for walks. I remember stopping here on my first walk around the bay a few years ago.

Most of tonight's walk was along paved road, asphalt pathways, or sidewalks. However, I did take a few detours along some packed dirt transitions or smaller trails closer to the water -- particularly when I walked back closer to the water (southeast) on Gate 5 (road) and back up (west on) Harbor Drive on the walk back (not on the Bay Trail).

After dinner, I walked north along Bridgeway, the main road running roughly north-south through Sausalito, at about the point where double red lines turned into a solid red line trail on the Bay Trail Map.

I eventually made the transition to the bicycle - pedestrian path and walked north toward Marin. This part of the walk was closer to the water (Richardson Bay), which afforded great views of a variety of different houseboats (loved the colorful jumble of mailboxes facing the road), and Mount Tamalpais before sunset.

There were also several white egrets fishing near the shore, in the grasses and shadows.

I passed the Seaplane Adventures office (which was closed for the day). I hope to take a flight on one of these seaplanes soon to get an aerial view of Richardson Bay and San Francisco. I turned around at the Shoreline Office center.

Wildlife Sightings:
1 crow; 25 sea gulls; 6 snowy egrets and 2 great egrets

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sausalito - Aug. 2, 2012

Walking Distance: 2.0 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 4 hours (11:10 a.m. - 3:10 p.m. total, 4 stops)
Start and End Point: Parking lot, near Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA

If you like boats, this would be a great walk for you. We started with a ferry boat ride from San Francisco (Ferry Building) to the lovely coastal town of Sausalito in Marin County.

It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride across San Francisco Bay, with views of Angel Island on the way. As we pulled into Sausalito a thin layer of fog was curling over the tops of the hills, but it was a beautiful sunny day. From the ferry terminal we walked to Bridgewater, and headed north toward Harbor Boulevard.

Along the way, we walked primarily on paved sidewalks and road surfaces, although we did take a few detours. For example, we walked along the wooden planked docks to see houseboats* and on paved dirt/gravel paths to check out Carl Dunphy Park and to see an art car. And we sauntered along a gravel/dirt road next to a boatyard, as we were looking for Gate 5 and Harbor Blvd.

There were several interesting places to visit, and to eat and drink on this walk. We passed by the Visitors Center and Historic Exhibit building, but stopped at Cibo, a cafe in a brick building on Bridgeway, for some lunch. After our meal, we continued north and spent time taking a tour through The Bay Model.

The Bay Model was a very large scale model of the San Francisco Bay that, run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that was open to the public. While more sophisticated computer models have replaced some of the original functions of this huge physical representation of the Bay (roughly the size of two large warehouses inside), the Bay Model Vistors Center represents a great learning environment for school groups and anyone else interested in knowing more about the history and geographic and hydrological workings of the Bay. In addition to short films and interactive displays, there was a tule boat, and an exhibit area with information about the building of ships during WWII.

Continuing north, we visited a large building that housed dozens of artists studios on Harbor Blvd. (A small "Art" sign on the building that housed West Marine led us here.) And, last but not least, we took a trip into Heath Ceramics. We needed to get back to catch our ferry back to San Francisco, but if we'd had time we would have had some dinner there; we heard good things about "Fish" restaurant at the end of Harbor Blvd. Next time...

On the return Ferry ride back to San Francisco we cruised by Alcatraz Island, and were close enough to see details of buildings and structures there.

*For those interested in more information on the wooden boats, you might also enjoy:
Vistoria Colella's Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour:

Thank you to Elise and Camille for joining me on this walk.

Wildlife Sightings:
12 sea gulls; 3 pigeons; 1 crow; 7 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 cormorant; 1 butterfly

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fort Baker - July 28, '12

Walking Distance: 3.2 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 50 min. (4:40 - 6:30 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Fort Baker, Marin, CA

After a few stops in San Francisco, we headed north and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Taking the second exit off Highway 101 after crossing the bridge -- down to Fort Baker, we found a street parking space at Fort Baker. From our parking spot we headed up the hill (back toward the Bridge). Note: these roads are marked in white on the Bay Trail map shown at right, indicating they are not "improved" trails.

We walked up the hill on Bunker Road/Danes Drive -- enjoying the sight of a mother deer and two fawns grazing in the shadows. We took Alexander up to the intersection with the Golden Gate Bridge approach road (to a spot where there was a grate in road near a stop sign -- where I'd left off before). Note: there were a few spots on this paved section of curvy road where it's fairly narrow, with shared setbacks with bicycles, so walk with caution. On the plus side, the view looking backwards (through a short tunnel) framed the San Francisco skyline very nicely.

We turned around at this grate/intersection, and on way down, took Alexander Road toward Sausalito (not technically part of the trail), until it joined with East Road. We turned right onto East Road (to walk back toward Fort Baker), shown as a solid red line on map. It was great to see the newly improved packed dirt pedestrian/jogger path, separated from the bicycle path on this stretch. (This area had been under construction during my last walk here in 2010.)

On the way down East Road toward Fort Baker, we turned right to climb the packed dirt Eucalyptus trail (Drown Road trail - not shown on map) to its end -- a fence that separated the trail with Alexander (busy road on other side of fence, where we'd walked earlier as it turned out). We then walked down to the Chapel at Fort Baker and took a peek inside. Taking the Chapel Steps Trail, we walked down a set of stairs and returned to the car.

Nice views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay, Angel Island and SF City Skyline on this walk.

Thank you to Ken for joining me on this walk.

Wildlife Sightings:
5 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 robin; 1 hummingbird; 3 deer (mother and two fawns); 5 dragonflies; 6 crows