Once again we stopped at Peet’s on Geary but this time I remembered to take my bag with me and we didn’t get a parking ticket.
The weather today is not so good as last Saturday. No wonderful views of the city or the ocean but lots of fog. The higher we got the less we saw but we did rise above the fog and the sun was brilliant. We had several scary moments along the way. The sun was blinding in places and Tom found it difficult to see where we were going. The edge of the road was just inches away and beyond that a steep drop, so it was a white knuckle ride.
Once again not many people around that that’s not surprising as it is jut 8 am. We head to East Ridge and park next to the Visitor Center. There is a parking fee of $6 which you place in an envelope and post in the green pipe, leaving the stub on your dash.
On a clear day the views are spectacular up here. Today it is surreal. We are way above the fog and we look down on a sea of fog. No buildings are poking through. In fact the only points of reference we have is Mt Diablo to the east and a few hill tops scattered to the south.
We climb to the top via the Plank Walk. A 0.3 mile trail to the peak. There is a fire look out at the top. The trail starts off as wooden planks and rises steadily but soon it become more and more of a rock climb.
As I approached the top I could hear voices. I rounded the top and saw a group of about a dozen young men all chattering in a foreign tongue. I noticed a smell but could not work out what it was but then spotted a bread roll with half a dozen sticks of smoldering incense stuck into it. I’d found the source of the aroma.
I sat below them on a rock in the sunshine writing my journal and waited for Tom to join me. He had stopped further down to take some photographs. As I sat there soaking in the sunlight and writing, I occasionally gazed towards the city. I noticed the top of the Sutro Tower sticking up above the fog.
More young men joined the group above and my curosity got the better of me. I climbed a little higher to see what they were doing and was met by a curious sight. Most of them were merrily chatting together but several were further down holding small silver bowls in one hand and a silver spoon in the other. The bowls contained a white liquid and they were scattering it over nearby rocks and bushes. Obviously a celebration of some kind, but what? Eventually I caught the eye of one young man and asked. He was pleased to explain to me and Tom (who had now joined me) that they wre from Mongolia and were celebrating their New Year, which this year was one day after the Chinese New Year. The liquid was milk and they were communing with the spirits. We were fascinated.
Of course this is a very spiritual area. The Native Americans who were here way before the Spaniards arrived, regarded this as a holy place.
We waited, Tom at his camera and me sitting on a rock, for some time. The fog was slowly lifting. As we watched, one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge appeared. Tom was waiting for the Bank of America tower or the top of the Trans American pyramid to appear. We waited in vain though and just after 10 decided that it was time to find somewhere for breakfast.
February 18 2008 08:40 pm | Special Places