The Presidio, San Francisco

It’s not far from Crissy Field to the Presidio – just follow the signs for Main Post.
(Click on the photos for larger versions)

The Presidio in San Francisco, California

The Presidio in San Francisco, California

Within no time at all we were in the main square of the Presidio.  In the middle is a large car park, which used to be the parade ground when the Presidio was at its zenith.  On one side of the parade ground is a row of handsome brick buildings which used to be the Montgomery Street Barracks.  The plan is to convert the parking lot into a green park and to refurbish the barracks into restaurants, galleries and cultural spaces.  One of the buildings has been completed and is the Walt Disney Family Museum which opened its doors on October 1 this year.  One day we will come and view it, but that will have to wait until the crowds have died down; although at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning all was quiet and peaceful.

Tom parked the car and wandered off to take a few photos of the buildings while I stayed in the car and wrote my journal.  Not much seemed to be going on around us.  Even the Visitors Center was not open.

We then drove up the hill to The Spire.  We last visited in January this year and were keen to check it out again.  At the Inspiration Point car park we indicated to turn into it but it was closed off.  There was a sign saying it was temporarily closed today.  I wonder why?  We drove a little further and turned into the Presidio Golf Club car park.  Fortunately there were no signs saying we could not park there.

From there is was a short climb up to The Spire.  The area is known as Aguello Gate and the path leads to the Bay Area Ridge Trail.  Alongside the path were a stack of enormous felled Monterey Cypress trees.  A sign nearby said the they had been felled as they were decaying.  They will be replaced by young Monterey Cypress trees next year.  It is all part of a well planned restoration project.  The smell of resin from the felled trees was intoxicating.

Andy Goldsworthys, The Spire in The Presidio

Andy Goldsworthy's, "The Spire" in The Presidio

Further on there was another stack of felled trees and they formed a convenient bench.  I sat in the sun and looked around me.  In front of me, towering high into the sky, was The Spire which was the inspiration of Andy Goldsworthy.  Around the base of the spire were 100 young Monterey Cypress trees.  On our visit in January they had just been planted and the area round the spire was clear apart from the tiny seedlings and the sticks supporting them.  Today the view was different.  The small trees and sticks were still there, although some of the seedlings had not survived, but weeds have sprouted all around each sapling completily hiding the tiny trees.  I guess that was bound to happen.  Hopefully on our next visit the trees will be higher than the weeds.

Tom had wandered off to take photos so I sat on my comfortable perch writing up my journal.  I must say it was a great place to be.  I leaned back and rested against another felled tree.  The view was magnificent, not just of The Spire but I could see Alcatraz sparkling like a jewel out in the bay.  What with the warmth of the sun and the resiny smell, surely this was the place to be on this fine Saturday morning.  I could have stayed there for hours just drinking in the sights sounds and smells all around me and watching runners jog past but Tom beckoned so I went to join him.

He had explored further up the path to where it joined the Bay Ridge Trail and he thought there would be a good view ahead of the bay as we were quite high there.  The trail skirted the golf course.  The reason I knew this was because I spotted a golf cart.  The view never materialized and the path we chose came to a dead end at the base of a disused tower – probably a fire look out – next to a covered reservoir.  The tower was defended by an impenetrable barrier of barbed and razor wire.  The main intention was that nobody should be able to climb the tower.

We turned back and returned to the car and set off to find somewhere for breakfast.

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