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35. City Hike (06/22/97)

Hikers (9): Beth, Eric, Kim, Lichuan, Melik, Peggy G, Peter, Russ, Taylor
Distance: 10 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 9 beauty

Write-up by Peter

This hike was a departure from our usual hikes through the woods -- we took Taylor's suggestion and went on a City Hike. I think the promise of walking by all the different shops in San Francisco brought out the women -- they outnumbered the men 5 to 4 (including 3 newbies)!

Fortunately for the men, I mapped out a route that did not take us past the big shopping districts. We met at Golden Gate Park at mid-morning. After some confusion involving coffee, bagels, donuts, and ATM's, we were finally ready to go.

After walking around in circles in the park for the better part of an hour, we finally emerged on the north side and headed up 14th Ave. towards the Presidio. It was a beautiful clear day, and as we walked up 14th Ave., we had a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and all the way across to Marin. At this point, Rusty asked, "What are those shiny things?". Thinking that The Man had found some UFO's flying overhead, we looked around, but did not see anything. Turns out Rusty was referring to the cars going across the bridge. The Man is easily confused!

The Presidio was pretty quiet, so I took the opportunity to initiate the newbies into the INCH tradition of the Full Moon over San Francisco. Somehow, they were not too impressed (well, maybe they were, because Peggy and Lichuan were never seen nor heard from again after this hike).

We approached the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. This could only mean one thing: snack time! After everyone had loaded up, we began the arduous journey along the footpath.

Although I had driven across the bridge many times without any problem, this time was different. Out in the open, feeling the wind blowing and looking through the gap along the sidewalk down onto the rocks below triggered the old fear of heights. I tell you folks, I was this close to grabbing onto Rusty's hand! My throat was dry and my palms and back of my neck were drenched in sweat. We had about a quarter-mile to go, but it felt like miles. My only hope was to just look at the sidewalk straight in front of me and keep going. If I looked up or down or off to the side or stopped for one moment, I knew I would freeze up. I could hear Taylor calling me from behind, but I could not turn around -- just keep going. By a miracle, we made it all the way across and just sat there and waited for the others to catch up. All I have to say is thank God there was a bathroom on the other side!

The ordeal over, we walked down the hill and along the waterfront into picturesque downtown Sausolito with its cute little shops and restaurants. We chose a fine-looking establishment and went upstairs for a well-earned lunch. We enjoyed a nice view of the San Francisco skyline as we ate our burgers and I enjoyed a nice cool beer.

After lunch, it was Rusty's turn to sweat. We boarded a ferry to take us to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. The Man does not like boats! The water was pretty choppy that day, and we were sitting upstairs on the outside of the main cabin, so we got the full effect of the motion. Up and down, up and down, .... Rusty was starting to look a little green. I have to say The Man did an admirable job in holding down his lunch.

There was a conference for the mayors of all the major U.S. cities in town that week, and they all happened to be out on an excursion on the bay. As we passed their ship, the INCHers tried hard to get me to show the mayors the Full Moon over San Francisco, but it didn't happen. I guess if I had had a couple more beers, things might have been different!

Back at the Wharf, we split into two groups. Muffy, Peggy, and the Eggs began the hike back to the cars, and the rest of the group headed to the Buena Vista Cafe. After sampling a couple of the finest Irish coffees in the world, the rest of the group began the journey back as well.

I don't know if it was the Irish coffees or whether it really was a long distance, but it sure did take us a long time to get back to the cars. The weather was pretty chilly and Golden Gate Park was dark by the time we got back. Most of the cars had left and we had to walk around for a while before eventually finding Melik's car and the Russmobile.

Even though it was only a city hike, we still did get a pretty good workout and spent a nice day outdoors. I think we'll make this an annual event.

Kim's 1st leaf
Lichuan's 1st leaf
Peggy G's 1st leaf

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