Wednesday, April 24, 2013

San Francisco Coastal Hike with the Georgia Tech Northern California Alumni

Last Saturday, I met up with a group of Georgia Tech alumni from the Northern California region to hike along the coast and headlands of San Francisco.  This hike took us about 5 hours because we walked fairly slow and stopped quite a while for lunch. But it was a great day to be hiking - we got extremely lucky, because the weather happened to be bright and sunny (as opposed to SF's normal fog and wind).

Our hiking group at "Land's End" with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.  
Our hiking route from Ocean Beach to the Marina (map courtesy of Google Maps). 
We started off the hike at the intersection of Great Highway and Fulton Street, in Ocean Beach. I had never been to this part of SF before, so I was pleasantly reminded of Southern California's beach scene with the stores and cute houses. There weren't that many people hanging out on the beach, maybe because its still too cold to swim in the water. However, there were surfers braving the waves in their wetsuits.

Sitting on the ledge at Ocean Beach. 
I just thought it was interesting that the riptide warning sign included Chinese, Spanish and Russian. 
The view as we headed up the hill from the beach. 
After Ocean Beach, we hiked along the Sutro Baths upper trail to Land's End. And when I say hiked, I mean that we walked along the sidewalk paths and on staircases that have been built into the trail.

Near Point Lobos.
Going up!
The Land's End part of the hike was my favorite, because it took us right down to the water. It was a lot rockier than I expected, but it was beautiful! There were some logs strewn across the beach area, so I assume people come and sit on them from time to time to have quiet waterfront picnics.

View of the rocky coast from the trail. 
Jeff leading the way with all of his legit hiking gear. 
The little beach area. 
Rocks and rocks on rocks. 
From the Land's End trail, we went up to the Eagle's Point labyrinth. I'm not really sure what the labyrinth part was, but the view of the Golden Gate bridge from there was gorgeous (so that is where we took a bunch of group photos). It was also a little scary because there was no guard rail or anything to prevent you from falling off the edge off the cliff into the bay.

Getting closer to the bridge!
Dolphins in the water :)
Evan, me, Laura and Jeff. 
After walking up through the Sea Cliffs neighborhood and past China Beach Park, we stopped to eat lunch near Baker Beach on Battery Chamberlin Road. The houses in the Sea Cliffs area are all huge mansions worth millions of dollars for their view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

View of Sea Cliffs from where we ate lunch. 
A group photo with one of the old cannons. I'm not sure why there are a bunch of cannons right on the beach.
After lunch, we walked up the Battery to Bluffs Trail and the Coastal Trail to the Presidio area. Most of this walk was uphill, and there was a lot of poison oak along the way (so we avoided going off the trail). We ended up at Battery Godfrey in Fort Scott, which is basically next to Golden Gate Bridge.

Walking down the Coastal Trail. 
View from the Battery to Bluffs Trail.
Dove Loop. 
Once we got to the Golden Gate Bridge, our group started splitting up because some people wanted to walk across the bridge. The rest of us continued down to the Marina area, and then we went to go eat another late lunch because we were hungry again!

Sailboats passing underneath the bridge. 
Ankur showing the map of our hike (we actually started further left of what is show in that map).  
The Golden Gate Bridge! 
I had a lot of fun hiking through San Francisco's coastline with the Georgia Tech alumni group! Its always interesting to meet other alums, mostly because we all work at cool places now - 3 of the alums work at Google!  We all enjoyed swapping stories about dining hall food, our old Calculus TA's and some intense CS classes that we took while there. I'm proud to be a Ramblin' Wreck :)

Reppin' my GT gear at the Golden Gate Bridge!
Post-hike recovery food: a hotdog with relish on a toasted flat french baguette with curly fries!  I know its not Paleo, but it tasted great and I figured that I earned it with all that hiking haha. 


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