Air, Land, and Sea: Fleet Week and Hiking in the Marin Headlands

On Saturday, J and I scootered down to Fort Mason and walked over to Aquatic Park to be in the thick of Fleet Week’s air show. The crowd was vast, dressed in summer clothes, and well fed on a variety of American foods. It was a collision of all walks of life: yuppies from Russian Hill and nearby, tourists (from Russia and elsewhere), visiting suburbanites, and the homeless. For the tourists that didn’t know about the event, I worried that they’d think air shows were part of daily life in excessive, patriotic, and war mongering America.

During the show, a variety of planes performed a variety of maneuvers that caused a variety of reactions. My favorite moment was when a group of planes did stuff as a group. Without hyperbole, I can say that the routine was one of the best group flying routines I saw on Saturday.

Man in his golden years annoyed by the quality of the chain link fence separating him from the jets.

These colors don’t run, but they do dissipate into the atmosphere like paraffin-based smoke.

When the wind blows, this sculpture is less boring. Note: the wind wasn’t blowing.

A jet blocks the view of Alcatraz.

The moment you realize a plane is a stunt plane.

An unsuccessful man that smelled of pee reminded me of myself when I was my age.

Aquatic Park spectators in a festive, crowded mood.

I must be in 747th heaven!

In the excitement of the air show, a sailboat capsized and spilled its sea scouts.

The crowds reacted to the capsized boat as a studio audience would. “Ooooooooooooh!”

What above should dapple the midday light but a canopy of booger-colored leaves?

A four-pack of “Blue Angel” F-18 Hornets in blue and gold livery.

A vintage ship teabags the bay.

Oh Eppleton Hall, you saucy vessel!

Crab traps.

While Saturday was a day of passive spectating, on Sunday we exerted ourselves. After a blustery and foggy scooter ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, we went through the one-way tunnel and along Bunker Road to a trailhead near Rodeo Lagoon. We studied the map, deciding on taking the Miwok Trail 1.8 miles until Wolf Ridge Trail. From there, we would take the latter trail another 2 miles or so to Rodeo Beach.

Our hike started foggy and full of hawks and other birds. But as we began to ascend the hill on the edge of Gerbode Valley, the sky started to show. By the time we reached the second trail, we were getting sweaty and hungry. But we huffed and puffed our way to the Coastal Trail and took a lunch break amongst the fortifications on top of a hill with a commanding view of the coast. When we started hiking down to the beach, the fog was almost completely clear.

Surfers were out in mass at Rodeo Beach. The water was blue and clean looking. Two dolphins were fishing in the distance.

The start to the Miwok Trail in the Marin Headlands.

J-DAWG JAMMYFRESH spots something in the mist.

Buck! A deer! A male deer!

One of the few troll-free bridges as certified by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Trolls.

A douchbag biker ascends the Miwok Trail without so much as a “hello.”

The beautiful view of Gerbode Valley “gerboded” well for the rest of the hike.

The author spotted in his classic short legs/long torso posture.

Dried flowers.

The narrow Wolf Ridge Trail we took to the ocean from the Miwok Trail. It’s worth noting that we saw neither wolf nor miwok on our hike.

Chandler: Could photo be any more thistle?

Layers of rock exposed like a southern girl at Spring Break.

The road/trail called “Hill”.

Old fortifications made for a good lunch break and toilet, in that order.

Weather was like a mullet: sunny in the front and foggy in the back.

Looking north up the coast to Tennessee Beach and Pirates Cove covered in fog.

Looking south to Rodeo Beach.

Stairs on the Coastal Trail that were put in because the road washed away.

What used to be a road before a bad case of mass wasting.

Where road meets air.

A gang’s sandwich shop.

The flooded gun mount of Battery Townsley would make a perfect swimming hole if it weren’t for the algae and brackish smell.

Rusted pegs.

Mossy rocks and the descent into the Pacific.

The fog cleared, revealing a crisp view of Rodeo Beach, Point Bonita, as well as the lesser-know Point Feo, Tetas Caidos Beach, and Caca de Pajaro Rock.

A closer view of Point Bonita Lighthouse.

Surfers acting all cool and unafraid of the water.

Fort Cronkhite.

A baby hawk looking for a chance to take back Congress.

The United 747 flying towards the city for its Sunday performance.

A brown pelican that doesn’t give a damn about anything. I’m jealous.

We scootered into Sausalito and got two ice coffees. We sat on the curb and watched the last fifteen minutes of Sunday’s air show. The Blue Angel’s routine wasn’t new, but it was fun to see it from the opposite side.

By the time we headed home, fog was rolling in again.


I think life changes have been good to your blogging. That is to say I think this was a particularly funny, well done blog posting. The clever classic Nik prose is better than ever and oh so sweet.


It’s official, I’m going to stop living my life and just live yours and J-Dawg’s. You guys do it so much better than I do :) !

Thanks, this is my first visit here and I am looking forward to further reading. I came here via Jamie’s site (which I’m also enjoying!) because we are currently living in Shanghai, having moved from Portola Valley in August. Thanks for the website!


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October 11th, 2010. Categories / San Francisco

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