Lakes, Parks, Beaches, Headlands, and Friends

March 16th, 2010. Categories / San Francisco

A common tradition on Thursdays in San Francisco is to go to the nearest lake and eat a half a sub sandwich while watching birds. Those “in the know” are cautious against outsiders, so don’t make any enquiries to the truth of my claim.

Thursday morning, J-Dawg and I left our apartment by the halfway house and walked to Market Street to catch the westward L Line.

In the subterranean station, an unhappy couple was trying to catch a train. The woman seemed normal enough, but her male companion aggressively rapped his newspaper covered cane on the ads as he walked down the hall.

At the platform, the couple got into an argument about which side of the tracks they needed to be on. The man stopped listening to her and climbed down onto the tracks.

Almost immediately a station attendant came.

“Get off the tracks, now!” He yelled.

The man grumbled and pulled himself back onto the platform. A train whooshed through the station.

“Sir, you need to leave.”

But crazy man was reluctant to leave. Instead, he whacked his weapon on the ground in defiance.

Frustrated, his girl started up the escalator while yelling at him. As if drawn by the yells, the man followed.

The platform was silent, but nervous tension remained.

Our train arrived and we were on our way. My body released its urge to either fight or flee.

After acquiring a sandwich, we walked to Lake Merced. As far as spring-fed urban lakes go, it was pleasant. The water was surrounded by both busy roads and golf courses, though birds were in abundance.

We ate our lunch on the edge of a wooden pedestrian bridge. An old man with a monopod and binoculars smiled as he passed.

Pink house with sculpted plants, a common landscaping feature of the neighborhood.

Weird bushes.

Lake Merced.

Bluejay on a bush.

Driving range.

Man in boat.

Abandoned pier.

Flowers in the median.

From there, we walked the short distance to the sand dunes around Fort Funston. The towering sand is some of the last remnants of the sand dune ecosystem that once covered the western half of San Francisco.

I found a place to pee amongst a grove of wind-sculpted trees.

J. on the dunes.

J. at the beach.

Crow on a pole.

The sandy cliffs near Fort Funston.

Fisherman below.

Wild strawberries.

My view while peeing.

The journey from the land of pee trees to home valley took us along the tattered edge of the Great Highway. Recently, nine-hundred feet of road south of Sloat Boulevard had fallen into the ocean. The southbound lanes were closed. Somewhere beneath, a fourteen foot wide raw sewage line was getting closer to rupturing. Debris littered the beach.

Sandy trail.

Paths in the sand. Insect made?

The closed section of the Great Highway.

Stump.

Mesh.

Missing road.

Rusted pole.

Old building of the zoo.

Colorful homes with wonderful views.

Bird.

Another colorful house.

Weirdos in the water.

Birds.

Line in the sand.

Orange wall.

Funky staircase.

Before hopping on the N Line, we had a scone and some coffee under the watchful beady eyes of the crumb snatchers.

At 10:30 Friday night, four friends from Los Angeles arrived in town. J. and I had been waiting for them in a diner across the street from their motel. We passed the time with coffee, milkshakes, and a damn fine slice of apple pie.

Finding dinner at our late hour was difficult. We were almost ready to fall back on Mel’s when a lanky old man resembling Vincent Price emerged from the shadows of a small restaurant called Brazen Head‎.

“Good evening. Would you like to…eat here?” The man asked with a sly smile.

We hesitated. Vincent gestured for us to come inside and take a look.

The restaurant was warmly lit: lots of wood, heavy furnishings, crowded and intimate like an artery full of plaque. We sat at a table in the corner, my friends stuffing themselves with rich foods from a simpler time while we shared a bottle of blood-colored wine.

During their visit, I did my best to cram in as much walking and natural scenery as possible. On Saturday, we met for morning pastries then a walk to the newly constructed California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. The place was expensive and packed.

Afterward, we kicked the feather and walked the rest of the length of the park to the ocean. The whole walk was timed perfectly so that we arrived at the blustery coast at sunset.

For dinner, we settled on Pizza. Burma Superstar had too long of a super waiting list.

Seven chums at Golden Gate Park.

The tulip garden near the Dutch Windmill.

The Dutch Windmill at sunset.

Ocean.

Wind surfing.

Kite flying.

Looking up the coast to the Cliff House.

Sunday morning, the group met for breakfast and vintage arcade games. I failed to best my pinball score, but I succeeded in a few shooting gallery games and using a crane to excavate gum balls.

From the arcade, we took a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands. We rushed a view from Hawk Hill to arrive at Point Bonita Lighthouse with just enough time before the gates closed at 3:30. The lighthouse was just as I had seen it before, but the capacity of the old pedestrian bridge had been reduced to only two at a time.

The view from the Marin Headlands.

Another view from farther up the road.

Me and lady.

M. and J.K.

The view from Hawk Hill.

Looking towards the Point Bonita Lighthouse.

Road to nowhere.

C. driving us along the coast.

Point Bonita Lighthouse.

The rocky coast.

Building and water below.

The lighthouse.

Another view.

The rickety pedestrian bridge.

Old man.

Flowers growing at the base of the tie.

Little white house on a cliff.

Walking through a tunnel.

The other side of the tunnel with red moss.

Seal basking on the rocks.

When I moved to San Francisco after college, I mostly explored alone. Back then, I always wished those close to me could have been there to see the same things. Now I know why. An epic vista is made more wonderful when it drives a friend crazy with jealously that you get to live in this place and he doesn’t.

But as all dogs go to heaven, all weekends end. Monday would be the first day of freelance.

3 Comments


Picture of weird-os in the water are my brothers. See your post on flatwillow.com about the quiet rodman.This is ocean , not flatland where you learned to drive and frighten the quiet rodman,

c:

man where IS that? i wish i lived there…

Nik:

Success!

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