Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

Every time that I visit San Francisco there are sites which I visit and one of them is the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thanks to Michael W. of Vancouver, I am adding two of his photos - the one above and the other is the fifth photo below.

I have never had the opportunity to visit many American cities  so I am not that familiar with other transit systems but I believe that it is safe to say that few measure up to transit in San Francisco. Buses, streetcars and the Muni go everywhere in the region.

To reach the Golden Gate Bridge there are two bus routes that swing by there - and the fare is CHEAP! Also, once the fare is paid, one may transfer from vehicle to vehicle over a two hour period so to visit any part of that great city - or any specific site within it - is very easy.

The bus stop for the bridge is just to the north of the bridge toll gates and next to the visitor's parking lot. On the south side of that lot is a statue of the architect who designed that bridge. Sorry - I do not remember his name.

Behind him you can see the fog that was shrouding part of the bridge so I thought that that would be a great time to walk across. It is more than a mile each way across the bridge and the pedestrian walk is on the harbor side of the bridge only.

                                                  Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge

Sadly, because of the great height above the water plus the frigidness of the ocean, it is very popular with suicides. I worry about that - not about people wishing to 'end it all' with one jump but that I would actually see it happen. I must have walked over that bridge ten or more times but, fortunately, I have not witnessed a tragedy. Yes - there is a mesh fence on the outside of the railing but that does not deter the most determined.

At the north end of the bridge is another parking lot, a gift shop and a statue of a sailor. 

Looking back on the day that I am writing about, the movement of the fog vis-a-vis the towers holding the cables was lovely - and mysterious.

This visit was in October, 2003. At that time the US Government was tightening security around 'vulnerable areas' and they had begun work around the north end of the bridge. The day that I walked across in the fog I was able to descend a staircase down to a walkway, pass beneath the bridge, go up the other side and access a gravel road which descended down to the water's edge and under the bridge. As work had begun on the improved security, I did receive some curious looks from officials but was not challenged.

                 Another look at the view shown in the photo two above - but taken up nearer to the bridge level (and again - thanks to Michael in Vancouver for permission to use this photo).

To the east of the north side of the bridge is Fort Baker which I walked past then up to the road that descends to the town of Sausalito. I had been to that community twice before - once by ferry from the City and once as a passenger in a car. What I had not realized is that there really is no pedestrian access from Highway 101. When I reached the road I was on the wrong side and not facing oncoming traffic so I had to watch carefully and then dash across when there was a space. Because of the lack of a pathway down to the town the entire walk was dicey and I had to be very careful - Californians drive fairly fast and do not expect to see pedestrians!

After fifteen minutes or so I arrived at the upper end of sidewalks. Again - when there was a break in the traffic - I dashed across so that I could walk on the harbor side.

                        A view of Sausalito Bay with a modern yacht in front of a Chinese junk.

The following photos are views along the main street of Sausalito.

                                         South towards the bridge (if you look at the top of the hill - and to the left - one can see the fog which is shrouding the bridge).

                                      North towards the business section of the town

                                                           A hanging flower basket

When I commenced the hike I thought that I would be walking back across the bridge but, upon arriving in Sausalito, I saw the ferry arriving - the quick way to return to Embarcadero!

There is beauty all around San Francisco - not the least of which are the boats out on the harbor.

                                                 A sailboat on its way out to the bridge.

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