Archive for September, 2009

Camp San Francisco

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

A trailhead across from the front door was too much for me to resist when I was looking at the Presidio apartment that I now live in.  Where does it go, I wondered?   Where doesn’t it go? Every time I go for a walk in the Presidio, I discover something new and surprising in this unique corner of San Francisco.  For the first week, it felt like camp, or a college campus without the college.  It’s a place that I would normally think about driving to, so it feels a little peculiar to step right into it from my home.  Even my backyard is bordered by forest, but then, the city is right around the corner, too.

The Presidio used to be a military base until it was developed for civilian use.  Throughout the park, there are clusters of residences in addition to some businesses, from George Lucas’s companies to a bowling center.  And it’s federal land, which means that crime is in federal jurisdiction… which means that there is no crime, as far as I can tell.

Most of it is pretty open, with windy paths and roads and buildings….


But there are trails to hike with varied foliage and views.  There’s the occasional coyote, too, though I have yet to see one.

What gets me every time is that when you follow the natural descent of the land through the park, you find yourself on the waterfront with a wide open sky.  I never thought that the Golden Gate Bridge would be such a looming part of my life… in all its states of fog.

I walked across the bridge one morning, but it was so loud from all the cars that I’m not sure if I’ll do it again.  But Crissy Field is lovely, and the walk on the path along the water to the bridge, or in the other direction, towards the Marina, is very nice, with a healthy traffic of bicyclists, runners, dogs, and baby carriages.

And the beach along the water…

And green art…

If you walk towards Fisherman’s Wharf (or better, the Ferry Building), you come across the Palace of Fine Arts, a monument that I’d managed to not know about before, but one whose idiosyncratic existence strikes me as wonderful.

I also think that it’s wonderful that a family of 4 figured out how to have a thoroughly civilized lunch at a table in the middle of the dome.  Too bad they’re all but hidden in the shadow in my picture, but I’m posting it anyway, because as I have a feeling they would say, well, why not?

I’m still figuring out my food options around here– the Presidio has little, but the Marina and Cow Hollow and beyond are full of places to eat and buy food — but I think that my most satisfying prepared find so far is Bakesale Betty, which is in Oakland.  I went to try a dessert, but when I saw what looked like foot-high Fried Chicken Sandwiches being assembled, I had to get one.  Juicy and crunchy and little spicy… and I’d recommend doing away with the bread (although it’s perfectly fine in its soft, voluminous way) and eating each of the two chicken breast pieces cut side up/batter side down with some coleslaw balanced on top for a fried chicken experience to remember.