Urban Hike!

On Saturday, I decided to verify that my knee injury had healed by going on a long walk in San Francisco.   My only objective was to avoid changes in altitude as climbing/descending hills can still cause a bit of pain and also to walk near major bus routes in case I still had problems.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI ended up hiking almost 7 miles (11.25 kilometers)!  It was such a beautiful day that I just kept going.  I started my hike at Sutro Baths, where the land ends at the Pacific Ocean (hence the area is called Land’s End).   From there I hike through the wilderness-like area on the Land’s End Trail, which used to be how the trains got from downtown San Francisco to the Sutro Baths and the Cliff House, a huge bathhouse and social club club complex.  More about the Cliff House here.  

Here is the map of my route, depicted in the blue line:

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I used the My Tracks app on my Android phone with GPS to track this.  More about this below.

The hike through Land’s End is always beautiful.  Full of flowers, trees, incredible views of the ocean and bay, it is spectacular on a Spring day.  Here are a few photos I took on the trail:

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While this is now only a trail, as I mentioned above, it used to be the railway.  I found this video from Thomas Edison, Inc, from 1902, taken from the train, headed from the Cliff House going east towards downtown, the same direction of my hike.  If you look carefully, you can see the ‘Golden Gate’ – the mouth of the bay – before the bridge was built:

Emerging from Land’s End drops you into Sea Cliff, a very expensive and very beautiful neighborhood:

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Continuing my hike, I walked to the Presidio, a former military base, originally founded in 1776 by Spanish settlers.  Later (and briefly), it was under Mexican rule, before the US Army took control in 1846.   It is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. More information about the Presidio here.

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I really misjudged the map and ended-up climbing and descending more than 200 feet 3 times along with other climbs.  The image on the right is from the My Tracks app on my Android phone.  It is a great application, using GPS to track progress, depict on a map your exact location and when you are done, it provides you with statistics about how far you traveled, how fast you traveled and the changes in altitude on the walk.   Even with all this climbing, my knees were fine, although I was being very careful when climbing and descending.

After exiting the Presidio, I found myself in yet another very wealthy neighborhood:  Presidio Heights and Pacific Heights.  And much to my surprise, there were steps.  A lot of steps.  So many steps that people were going up and down the steps to train for upcoming athletic events.   The photos below are of two different stairways.

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One great thing about this type of hike in San Francisco (and other major cities) is that you can go from wilderness to National Park land, to an urban environment which can be anything from wealthy neighborhoods and trendy shopping districts  to very seedy neighborhoods.  Toward the end of the hike I was getting tired and afraid that I’d re-injure my knee so I didn’t stop to shoot many more photos.  But I did come upon an old Lincoln Continental and I was compelled to take a few shots:

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And here is a close-up of the famous ‘suicide doors’. They were called that because if the car was moving fast and someone opened the rear door, it would snap open from the force of the wind.

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It was a great day for a hike and I’m looking forward to doing more now that I am literally back on my feet.  Enjoy!

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