Yesterday I had the rare treat of Brian getting off “early”-ish on a Saturday. As any other fellow line wife knows time off or time together can sometimes be few and far between. So since Brian was off and back to the “trailer hood” at a decent time we decided to go explore the area around the Golden Gate Bridge. As you know from my other posts we are really uniquely situated to be about only 10 minutes north or so drive from the bridge. There is an exit headed south towards the city right before the bridge on the pacific side of the highway where you can exit and drive up the mountain for a look out spot to view the pacific and the Golden Gate. What I thought would be a 20-30 minute vista overlook turned out to be 3 hours of views unlike any other. As we started our climb up the mountain we quickly saw there were multiple look out points. As each lower point we came across was packed with tourists we kept on climbing up the mountain. When we finally reached the top of the mountain we parked and got out to enjoy the scenery. The views were really stellar. You could see for miles. It was gorgeous. The city in the back ground, the bridge in its full totality and the open pacific.
We were pleasantly surprised that once at the top there were numerous walking trails that wound even higher up the side of the mountain. Since I was excited for a date day with my hubby I was dressed in a cute dress and flats- I had no Idea that I was about to spend the next few hours hiking up and down a mountain. So we proceeded to carry on and explore what is known as ” Battery Hill”. Battery Hill was built at the peak of World War 2 when air strikes were an immense threat. The US concerned that the west coast would be attacked similarly to Pearl Harbor and was taking steps to protect our ports. Though never used in the war, construction was almost completely finished before the project was called off. Built into the highest peaks of the mountain the Battery Hill was designed to attack and protect against air strikes and be able to retreat back into the side of the mountain unseen to the enemy. Today, you can still walk the old tunnels and existing buildings. The hook to the left was designed to help hold the camouflage tarps in place so that the soldiers could remain unseen from above. Not only were we amazed by the gorgeous views, I at least, was totally unprepared for the history that we were getting to experience. We are enjoying some very untypical November California weather and the day was gorgeous, clear and in the 80’s. Aside from just the history and the views, tourists often flock to the tops of the mountain to bird watch looking for migrating raptors. The California Condor, though critically endangered could be spotted up on these mountains. As the largest land bird in North America, this raptor stands around 50 inches tall with a wingspan unto 4 and 1/2 feet. WOW! We did not see any giant birds. Once we were done exploring the top we decided to head on down the mountain. We had seen signs advising that the loop around was only another 4 miles. So instead of continuing back the way we came we went down the other side. Now, I was driving, and I HATE to drive in the mountains. But none the less we proceeded down. Going down is only a one way road and the grade is 18%. THAT IS STEEP. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the warning signs but since I was the one driving no pics of the crazy steep grade ahead. So we started our slow steep progression down the mountain only to discover that each new bend or turn was a new look out point. So of course we stopped again. And of course there were more trails to hike. So we hiked again. Living here in California is quite the drug culture learning curve. Since recreational pot is legal here we smell it EVERYWHERE. And yesterday, we had the pleasure of watching a couple smoke it overlooking the ocean. It really is a different world out here. So we continued on our journey. We followed the signs for Point Bonita Lighthouse . This was the last manned lighthouse on the California coast. Unfortunately the light house is only open for 3 hours a day between 12:30 and 3:30 and we had already missed the open hours, but decided to hike out to as far as we could anyways for the view. We started down the mountain yet again and man were we rewarded. The pacific coast is just gorgeous. The water though Im sure is freezing is a light emerald green that even from our high advantage point we could see was clear. We even spotted a few seals lying on some outlying rocks. I tried to get a few pictures of them but I was just high enough that the pics turned out grainy. We ended our day with a final trip down the mountain to the Marin headlands. This was unlike any beach Ive ever been to and we really enjoyed watching the locals don their wetsuits and catch waves.
Pictured above, the view walking down to the lighthouse
Pictured above, a side view from part of the mountain we drove down.
Above, the view of the hike down the mountain for the lighthouse.
Above, there are seals on all those rocks, you just can’t see them in this pic.