Monday, March 9, 2015

Sun lovin' San Francisco

Another week passes by and I don't even feel like I've blinked. I knew March was going to come quickly and now I realize it's going to pass just as fast. Gotta get on my European planning but pretty lazy about it these days. I started writing this on Friday afternoon and had some save issues so I had to write much of it over and then just general procrastination on finishing it didn't help... finally done now.

The weather in San Francisco has been ridiculous. If the east coast is getting hammered and crushed with abnormal freezing temperatures and snow San Francisco is the complete opposite but certainly at an extreme too. The drought continues and it's been beautifully sunny and 60+ every single day. Perfect for wandering around San Francisco and surrounding areas. I was hoping to pop up to Tahoe for some mid-week skiing at some point, but not sure that will happen or be worth it.

If you're wondering the coffee research continues and as I write this I'm having my first iced coffee - to be specific it's an iced pour over. I'm feeling quite fancy. Have I ruined the purity of it by dumping sugar and a splash of milk?? I have not a clue, but it tastes a little better now :) I think I'm leaning towards latte as the winner, but I have more to try so I won't give the full verdict yet. I can say though, the caffeine gives my head the same slightly not all there head feeling that I get after wine or a cocktail. Not sure that's supposed to happen!

Over the last week I knocked a few items off the 'tourist list' and am feeling very accomplished :) Following my trip to Alcatraz I hit up the Point Reyes Lighthouse, wandered the beach at Fort Funston (thanks Candace and Skittles!), discovered that San Francisco has free walking tours, hiked to Alamere Falls near my favorite little beach town of Bolinas, and listened to the Wave Organ down in the Marina. Oh, and of course did a few runs, found a fantastic new masseuse to work out some serious hip and leg tightness, and enjoyed free corporate lunches. 

The Point Reyes Lighthouse and surrounding areas were beautiful as always. The drive through the Point Reyes park out to the lighthouse, and really to any of the places there, is filled with rolling hills, grazing cattle, elk, deer, and then all of a sudden you catch the ocean views. If you want to see the lighthouse it is only open Friday to Monday and I highly recommend Friday or Monday so that it's not crazy crowded. In addition to the lighthouse I checked out Chimney Rock beach lookout area because I heard from the Ranger that the Elephant seals were on the beach there breeding. Nothing like seeing massive elephant seals (we're talking like 4-5k lbs for the males) and then pups (300 lbs at birth) just lounging on the beach. All of the pictures are here

300+ stairs down to the lighthouse

Elephant seals lounging on the beach
Monday I found that San Francisco has a variety of free walking tours through different neighborhoods of the city led by San Francisco City Guides. With nothing on the agenda for the day I thought I'd check out the Chinatown one since I don't know much about it. The tour itself was pretty good, nothing to be wild about, but it did occupy two hours of my morning and I learned a few things. We went into the fortune cookie factory which I'd been to before but it came at just the right time because I was starving so I took advantage of the samples they offer from the cookies that didn't quite make the cut. Another stop was the Tin How Buddhist temple up on the fourth floor of a seemingly normal nondescript building. The inside of the temple was very small but definitely photo worthy, sadly no photos were allowed. It was recently featured in Sunset magazine so you can check it out here.

Next adventure was a hike to Alamere Falls near Bolinas and Point Reyes. It's an uncommon Tidefall where the waterfall itself ends directly into the ocean. Pretty neat to wander or sit on the beach just at the bottom of this waterfall that comes from the cliff above. I headed up for the hike with my friend and fellow person of leisure Greg and we successfully navigated the 9 miles or so. The hike itself is not very difficult, we only didn't know where to go once and it was about 20 feet from the start of the trail. The only tricky part of the hike is when you get to the end and need to navigate down the unstable and slippery sand/rock to the beach. Other than that it's relatively flat and a nice trail. Along the way there are two lakes. One has a rope swing that we could see from the distance - definitely want to head back for a swing off that when the weather is warmer! The best part of the hike was that we started relatively early so there were no other people for most of the time that we were at the end and on the beach. We did run into one seal sunbathing on the sand and some folks horseback riding. I'm sure it gets quite crowded on the weekends so we were lucky. Greg thought I was crazy with my phone, camera, and GoPro but check out the pictures here.

One slightly obscure and random item on my San Francisco list was the Wave Organ down off a jetty in the Marina. This is an installation initially created for the Exploratorium science museum and consists of pipes in the water with one end out on the land so that you can listen to the sounds of the water as it rushes and and out of the pipes. The stone used to build the installation is from an old cemetery in Lauren Heights. Listening was a little awkward as I stuck my head against these large pipes but I could hear some of it. Apparently the best time is high tide which if I read the tide chart correctly was when I was there, but who knows! Even if the sounds were a little underwhelming the 360 degree views of the bridge, Alcatraz and then back to the city were pretty fantastic. The sun was shining so I took advantage and sat for a while because there were only a few other people around.

Enjoying the sun was certainly the theme of the week and weekend! The weather got progressively warmer so Friday, Saturday, and Sunday consisted of a lot of outdoor time eating, drinking, and hanging with friends. Running 16 miles on Saturday wasn't even too bad because the views from Mill Valley to Tiburon were fantastic! The sun looks like it's going to continue for most of the coming week, we'll see! Might get a little rain Wednesday but perhaps I'll finally hit up a museum if that's the case. 

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