Baker Beach, San Francisco

Baker BeachThis might not be a good idea.  We leave home at 5.30 in the dark.  As we approach San Francisco on Hwy 280, the fog blankets us.  It will probably be foggy at Baker Beach and we may not be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

First stop though is Peet’s on Geary for a coffee and quick perusal of the SF Chronicle.  This is the same Peet’s where I left my pack earlier in the year.  I made sure I kept my eye on my pack this time.  While sitting there doing my Sudoku puzzle, I noticed a homeless guy outside on the sidewalk trying to get my attention.  He stood there for about five minutes but I did not look directly at him even though he was waving at me.  Tom was completely oblivious being immersed in his newspaper.  I felt distinctly uncomfortable and was pleased when he shuffled away having failed to get me to look properly at him.

(Click the image for a larger version)

At 7.30 a.m. we were back in the car heading along Geary Blvd towards the ocean.  I find the streets of San Francisco fascinating.  Always something different to catch the eye; unusual architecture, funky shops, interesting pedestrians.  Even the derelict buildings demand attention.  There was an old boarded up movie theater with a sign outside still trying to tempt customers to ‘Come On In’.

We turned right on 25th Avenue and headed north to Lincoln Blvd.  One thing I noticed is the number of shops selling fresh fruit and vegetables.  Even at this time of the morning they are open and their goods arranged outside.

On Lincoln, we turn left onto Gibson Road, carefully avoiding several joggers out doing their early morning thing.  The car park at Baker Beach was almost empty.

The fog is thick.  Just across the water the Marin Headlands are hidden and as we walk onto the beach only the bottom part of the nearest pier of the Golden Gate Bridge is visible.  We can’t even see the roadway.  Tom decides that taking photos is not a good idea.  There is a slight drizzle as well and this is not good for the camera lens.  We decide to go and find somewhere for breakfast. (See breakfast log).

At 8.30 we take the same route back to Baker Beach.  The fog has lifted slightly – the roadway and the bottom part of the far pier are now visible – so we set off to walk down the beach.  Now on a sunny day this is a great place to visit.  There is a long sandy beach and a wonderful view of the bridge.  I remember my first visit here.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before so I won’t bore you again with the details.  Suffice it to say that there is a nudist beach at the eastern end and neither of us were aware of that fact beforehand.

Today there is a surprising number of people around considering it is only 9 a.m.  There was a lineBaker Beach of fishing rods stuck in the sand along the edge of the ocean.  At first I couldn’t see any fisherman as they were not standing behind their poles.  After studying the situation, I realized that each fisherman had three or four rods and had positioned themselves higher up the beach to keep an eye on them.  Some of the anglers were sitting on beach chairs, some on rocks and some directly on the sand.  All of them were heavily clad in waders and waterproofs.  As I walked by I couldn’t see any fish which had been caught.

No nudists here today though.  Far too cold I imagine.  Lots of dogs gamboling about in the water and chasing after balls.  This is a doggy heaven.

Out on the water we saw a huge container ship slip under the bridge.  A four man, bright yellow, rowing boat, complete with a coxswain, glided by heading for the ocean and a pair of dolphins were on their way into the bay.

At the far end of the beach, I caught sight of a driftwood structure.  Well more of a fairy ring than a shelter actually.  San Gregorio beach is the best place for this sort of art as there always seems to be so much driftwood washed up on the beach.  Bolinas is another site for this creative art form.  I took a few photos of the Baker Beach structure for posterity.

The tide was on its way out which made it possible to clamber over the rocks in an effort to get even closer to the bridge.  I ventured over a few outcrops and discover a couple of secluded sandy coves.  I’m sure younger and more agile bodies can go much further, especially at low tide but with my advancing age and with a pen stuck in my mouth and holding a notebook in one hand, it was inadvisable to be too adventurous though I could see a few more coves ahead of me.

I find a sheltered rock to sit on and complete my writing while Tom continued to take photos.  I contemplated the fishermen who are all wearing badges so obviously you have to be licensed to fish here.  Tom said he saw a large fish, possibly a salmon, landed while I was photographing the driftwood structure but he didn’t get a photo.

I watch one of the dolphins making its way back to the ocean and further back along the beach a couple of surfers braving the water.  Rather them than me.  Man, that water is cold!

Talking about cold, so were my hands.  It was time to head back to the car.

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