Posts Tagged ‘photos’

Hiking Mount Sutro and Twin Peaks

July 18th, 2016

For the past few years I’ve been aiming for 10,000 steps a day to make my fitness tracker happy get some exercise. Most days I don’t go anywhere special, but on weekends I like to branch out when I have the time and find new places to explore. That’s no easy task when you’ve lived in the Bay Area your entire life or spent the past (checks calendar) nearly thirteen years in San Francisco (holy crap.) So to do something a little different I walked from 17th Street to 23rd Street using the least efficient route possible, starting with Mount Sutro.

Take any map of San Francisco, and somewhere near the center there will be a green patch that’s either labeled “Mount Sutro Open Space Preserve,” or “Interior Greenbelt,” or some combination of the two. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a gorgeous man-made park — the non-native trees are a dead giveaway — with various trails zig-zagging around for hiking and mountain biking.

There’s several entrances, but I started at the one maintained by Parks and Rec at Stanyan near the end of 17th Street. There’s a small staircase and a sign to mark the entrance.

 
Interior Greenbelt sign
 

The hike up Mount Sutro is not one for the faint of heart — the trail is often steep, covered with rocks and fallen tree branches, and can be muddy and wet from the fog. At times it even felt like it was raining due to the fog rolling off the trees above.

 
Interior Greenbelt trail
 

The park has a somewhat surreal feel to it; you know in your mind that you’re still in the city, but for the most part it doesn’t feel like it. Sure, you can see some houses from a few vantage points, or hear sirens in the distance, but there’s little evidence to suggest there’s a bustling city not far below.

To add to the strange feeling, the place was nearly deserted. I could probably count the number of other hikers I encountered on one hand. Some part of me kept expecting to find a group of teenagers drinking or smoking pot in the bushes, but I didn’t even see any litter to suggest that this was a place people had escaped to for such endeavors.

Which is all a fancy way of saying that this place is rather unique. You won’t find crowds of tourists here like Golden Gate Park or Telegraph Hill.

 
Interior Greenbelt
 

By the time I got to the top I was somewhat lost. There were no obvious vantage points to find my bearings thanks to the trees and the fog, and my phone wasn’t picking up enough of a signal to use Google Maps. Fortunately, UCSF was kind enough to put a map there right when I needed it.

Following the map, I took the East Ridge Trail down to Aldea Housing. From there my phone briefly got a strong signal again. I thought about turning back, but figured what the hell — Sutro Tower wasn’t far away. Why not press on?

 
Interior Greenbelt
 

There’s no obvious signs leading you to Sutro Tower from there, and it was so foggy I couldn’t have even guessed which way to go to find it. Fortunately Google Maps had my back and a few minutes later I found what I can only assume is the base of the tower, prodding the underbelly of our dear friend Karl.

 
Sutro Tower in the fog
 

Following my gut, I walked around the reservoir next to Sutro Tower until I found another trail that seemed to be leading towards Twin Peaks. Once again this would have been much easier had I been able to see where I was going. (Million dollar idea: Glasses that let you see through fog. Get on it, hardware startup entrepreneurs!)

Fortunately an older couple heading in the opposite direction confirmed to me that I was on the right track.

 
Trail from Sutro Tower to Twin Peaks
 

After jumping a barrier and heading up a somewhat steep trail that didn’t seemed “official,” to put it mildly, I found a whole crowd of tourists. I’d done it! I’d made it to Twin Peaks!

The fun of Twin Peaks — if you’ve somehow never been — is not the view. In fact, there’s rarely much of a view at all. No, the fun is watching hoards of confused tourists scream about how they’re freezing, watching pamphlets get blown out of their hands by the wind, and seeing them take selfies against a backdrop of fog. It’s really a blast.

 
Twin Peaks in the fog
 

At this point several hours had passed and it was time to head back home. On the pedestrian/bike side of the recently reconfigured figure eight, I jumped another barrier and made my way down a staircase, followed by another, then another, then like maybe two or three more. Yeah, my knees are going to be sore as hell tomorrow.

But at least from here I more or less knew where I was going. If you’re walking to or from Twin Peaks from the Mission/Noe Valley, those stairs lead to a pedestrian overpass over Market Street, which is very handy for this particular part of the hike. The ramp on the other side takes you down to Grand View Ave. near the end of 23rd Street.

 
Market Street pedestrian overpass
 

The fitness tracker says all in all that worked out to just over six miles, though if you follow in my footsteps your mileage may vary depending on your exact route. A word to the wise: bring water with you, appropriate shoes, and full-length pants to avoid poison ivy. You also might consider an umbrella if it’s super foggy.

Finally, here’s a few panoramic photos of the Mount Sutro hike. As with all the photos in this blog post you can click it for a larger view. Additionally, all of these photos are in a Flickr album.

 
Interior Greenbelt pano

Interior Greenbelt pano

Interior Greenbelt pano

Sunset sign scorns dickish tree thief

July 4th, 2016

To the person who took our tree
 

“Don’t be a dick” is an excellent rule to live by. Nobody wants to be around a dick because they don’t want to be the victim of a dick move, and yet being a dick is often — but not always — free from consequence. Rather than being a dick in return to a dick move, sometimes you have to break the cycle by turning the other cheek and accepting that life isn’t fair. For that reason, some call this philosophy “the golden rule.”

Unfortunately, a lot of folks are dicks, making dick moves whenever the mood strikes them. One such dick is whoever chopped down someone’s tree on Judah near 14th Ave. The victim put up the sign in the above photo to plead with the dick in question.

The sign features a drawing of an ax chopping, presumably to indicate how the tree was taken rather than as a threat, as well as the following text:

To the person who took our tree:
Please return it as soon as possible and all will be forgiven.

Let’s hope the dick takes heed and returns the tree to its rightful place.

Murals of Osage Alley

February 15th, 2016

One of the few places to find actual underground murals in the Mission these days — in other words the kind explicitly not approved by some shady collective — is Osage Alley. Instead of stale and increasingly contrived attempts at political statements, at Osage Alley you’ll mostly find the funky old school and copyright-agnostic murals that the Mission was once known for.

The murals on this two and a half block long alley change frequently. For some of the previous art, check out the images on Google Street View.

Osage Alley murals Osage Alley murals Osage Alley murals Osage Alley murals

Garcon team apparently taking over Young’s BBQ space

September 14th, 2015

Young's BBQ space Young's BBQ space
 

Young’s BBQ, the (ostensibly) Korean hole in the wall restaurant behind El Toro that you never went to finally closed a few months ago. Recently the space has undergone a soft story retrofit.

Now a new liquor license application has appeared on the window with the name “Jerartdon LLC.” What could it mean?

Two of the names on the license in the state’s liquor license database shed some light on the situation. Jerome Rivoire is the owner of Valencia St.’s Garcon, and Arthur Wall is their executive chef.

What can we expect? So far the Garcon folks have been quiet about the whole endeavor, but it’s safe to assume pot stickers served by a woman who calls herself “Honey” are out.

What’s the deal with the plaque in the road at Van Ness and Market?

July 13th, 2015

House of hades one man versus American media in society 2015
 

If you’ve crossed the street at Van Ness and Market recently you may have noticed a strange little plaque embedded in the road near the crosswalk. It reads:

HOUSE OF HADES
ONE MAN VERSUS
AMERICAN MEDIA
IN SOCIETY 2015

…huh?

Turns out it’s not alone; many strangely worded linoleum plaques have appeared in roadways all over the US and South America since the 80′s. They’re known as Toynbee tiles, a reference to the wording of some of the earliest ones. You can find more via Google Image Search.

Who’s installing them? One filmmaker produced a documentary film on the subject — but never resolved the mystery entirely. The general consensus seems to be that these plaques originated in or near Philadelphia. The tiles later spread and changed in their messages. One theory is there are now multiple copycats, an idea supported by an Instructables video demonstrating how to make your own.

Still, knowing what these plaques are called and where they came from doesn’t tell us about who placed this particular one at Van Ness and Market or what its message is intended to convey. For now at least, that remains a mystery.

GOOD.

May 10th, 2015

GOOD.
 

Grump Cat wearing a bicycle helmet? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s a statement about bicycle helmet laws, or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Either way.

Spotted this wheatpaste during the Cinco de Mayo festival on Valencia.

Recipe theft: Cafe Madeleine’s butter lettuce salad with goat cheese

April 28th, 2015

Butter lettuce salad

Every now and then you eat something at a cafe or restaurant that’s so good, you have to reverse engineer the recipe and make it yourself. Such is the case with San Francisco mini-chain Cafe Madeleine and their excellent butter lettuce salad.

Don’t know what butter lettuce is? Sometimes it’s called butterhead, Boston lettuce or bibb. You can find it at farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, Rainbow, etc., sold with the roots still attached. It’s kind of like romaine lettuce, except it’s actually good. Fuck romaine.

Vinaigrette:

  • Two parts olive oil
  • One part red wine vinegar

Do you really need directions? Pour it in a bottle and shake it up!
 

Salad:

  • Half a head of butter lettuce, washed and stems removed
  • Small handful of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
  • Half a radish, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • A couple spoonfuls of goat cheese

Put everything in a bowl and drizzle some vinaigrette over the thing. Salt and pepper to taste. Boom, done!

La Cumbre’s new paint job boldly stakes claim to Mission-style burrito’s origin

April 20th, 2015

La Cumbre's new paint job

Recently Taqueria La Cumbre on Valencia got a fire engine red paint job. But far more bold than the color scheme is the claim painted on the building: “Birthplace of the Mission Style Burrito.”

As with any such claim, it’s a hotly contested one. As Wikipedia notes it’s not clear if Mission-style burritos were invented in San Francisco at all. Further adding to the confusion, La Cumbre’s “birthplace” claim refers to the building rather than La Cumbre because the burritos were originally sold there when a meat market occupied the space.

The truth is out there, but until someone invents a time machine we’ll never know for certain where Mission-style burritos came from. If anyone reading this happens to have a time machine and wants to research this, please give me a call — especially if it’s around lunch time.

Everything you do is a balloon

March 29th, 2015

Everything you do is a balloon
Spotted at 21st and Mission
 

I imagine the conversation went a little something like this:

“Hey, how should we decorate our storefront?”
“Well, all I have is this bike pump and a drawer full of balloons.”
“Uh… *scratches head* sounds kinda like a plan!”

And there you have it; a storefront filled with balloons.

(With apologies to Boards of Canada.)

New murals on Dolores St.

March 20th, 2015

Across from Dolores Park there’s a Christian Science church that’s been shuttered for a number of years. Recently a developer wanted to turn it into housing, but so far that hasn’t happened.

Instead it got boarded up, and now those boards have been filled with some spiffy new murals by fnnch, Analog Monsters, MaxEhrman and others.
 

Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals