The Sausalito Shuffle

Took a lovely walk with the Peanut the other day, from Sausalito, up into the Marin Headlands, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and across the northern part of San Francisco back to my home.

Here in Sausalito-by-the-Bay, nobody realizes it's Christmas. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
Here in Sausalito-by-the-Bay, nobody realizes it’s Christmas.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

After poking around some of the very steep stairways connecting the terraced streets of Sausalito, we found a trail that I had not been aware of (this is noteworthy, anywhere within 50 miles of San Francisco).    Beginning at the junction of Edwards Ave and Marion Ave, on the southern edge of town, an un-named trail departs steeply upward into the Marin Headlands, which loom immediately to the west in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

In Bizzaro Sausalito, the driveways are on the roofs of the houses, Peanut is inside out, and I am a lefty.  Curiously, this does not make my penmanship any worse. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
In Bizzaro Sausalito, the driveways are on the roofs of the houses, Peanut is inside out, and I am a lefty. Curiously, this does not make my penmanship any worse.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

The town of Sausalito takes its name from the Spanish word sauzalito, which means “small willow grove”.  So it seemed fitting enough when we found ourselves climbing fairly steeply for about a half a mile through thick groves of willows and eucalyptus, eventually topping out at a ridge overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The rolling green hills of the Marin Headlands make the Golden Gate Bridge look like that much more of a bad-ass.  You, however, are a pussy. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
The rolling green hills of the Marin Headlands make the Golden Gate Bridge look like that much more of a bad-ass. You, however, are a pussy.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

We dropped down out of the Marin Headlands into Fort Baker, a decomissioned coastal defense station which sits at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, on the Marin County side of the famed strait.

The Golden Gate Bridge, seen here from Fort Baker, a mid-1800s military installation erected to defend San Francisco against a hostile advance by Sigmund the Sea Monster (who, it turned out, just wanted to be friends). (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
The Golden Gate Bridge, seen here from Fort Baker, a mid-1800s military installation erected to defend San Francisco against a hostile advance by Sigmund the Sea Monster (who, it turned out, just wanted to be friends).
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

Then we made our way up to the pedestrian walkway of the bridge, which, as it happens, doesn’t allow dogs.  Lucky for me, though, I don’t give a shit about arbitrary rules; and so proceeded Peanut and me onto the walkway.  As usual, every 50 yards or so I was stopped by tourists who couldn’t seem to stop raving about how handsome he is.  Nothing new about that.

The lidless, all-seeing-eye of Big Brother tirelessly scans the Golden Gate Bridge for any sign of non-acquiescence to the status quo.  Servants of the military-industrial policing establishment are ceaselessly standing by, ready to quell any and all harmless human intercourse. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
The lidless, all-seeing-eye of Big Brother tirelessly scans the Golden Gate Bridge for any sign of non-acquiescence to the status quo. Servants of the military-industrial policing establishment are ceaselessly standing by, ready to quell any and all harmless human intercourse.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

On the bridge we met some guy named Nick, who was scoping out the city for a possible (and likely) immigration.  He was traveling with his brother and another friend.  We spent 15 or 20 minutes plying each other with questions and information, talking about the weather (in an interesting and productive way), and laughing at how ridiculous conservatives are.  Then we went our separate ways.

The completion of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1938 shortened the commute from San Francisco to Sausalito from 229 miles to 9 miles.   (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
The completion of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1938 shortened the commute from San Francisco to Sausalito from 229 miles to 9 miles.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

Touching back onto terra firma on the San Francisco side of the bridge, me and the Pean made for the Presidio, cutting irreverently through its cemetary en route back to our house.

I see dead people. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
I see dead people.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

Don’t worry- I didn’t let him piss on anybody’s grave.  He would have, though, had I not stopped him.  Last year, when we visited Hendrix’s grave outside of Seattle last year, he totally lifted his leg to douse Jimi’s crypt.  But I do not brook urinations on guitar gods; so Peanut’s designs came quickly to naught.

Look at him, acting  as if he wasn't just a few seconds ago trying to piss all over Jimi's remains.  Today's youth has no respect. (photo by K. Riley)
Look at him, acting as if he wasn’t just a few seconds ago trying to piss all over Jimi’s remains. Today’s youth has no respect.
(photo by K. Riley)

After almost five hours and 13 miles of walking without any annoyances whatsoever, I got my head shit on by a bird as I was walking up to my front door.

Ho Ho Ho.

 

 

No Talkin’, Man… All Action

Look, Ma- no brains!! (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
Look, Ma- no brains!!
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

Nothing for a mother to worry about here.

The ruins of the 120-year-old Sutro Baths, far out in the northwesternmost corner of San Francisco. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
The ruins of the 120-year-old Sutro Baths, far out in the northwesternmost corner of San Francisco.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

They call them King Tides; and for about three days each year, they hurl the ocean harder and higher against the coastline than at any other time.

I made my way down to the Cliff House and Sutro Baths this morning, arriving about a half an hour after the peak high tide.

The beach is a place where a man can feel he's the only soul in the world that's real. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
The beach is a place where a man can feel he’s the only soul in the world that’s real.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

There sure was a lot of water being tossed about – all the more noteworthy when you consider that this was a day with no wind and no other aerial, aquatic, or tectonic upsets that might stir the soup up that much more.

Let the tide in, and set, me free.   Set me freeee!! (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
Let the tide in, and set, me free.
Set me freeee!!
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

Standing in a spot where I’ve stood and stayed dry many times before, I got myself soaked.

Yeah, I've got your King of Tides right here! Take that, Lowenstein! (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
Yeah, I’ve got your King of Tides right here!
Take that, Lowenstein!
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

I’ll tell ya, it was touch-and-go with the camera triage for a little while there.

 

Down in a Hole: Trekking the Grand Canyon- Chapter 04

The Grand Canyon Skywalk Here we go, vertigo- test for echo (image property of parenting3.com)
The Grand Canyon Skywalk
Here we go, vertigo- test for echo
(image property of parenting3.com)

 

Day 03:

Fooly Noted

Right as we were setting off on the Dripping Springs Trail, a group of backpackers passed us going the other way, having just come through the pitiless country into which we were headed.  When we told them where we were going, several of them told us, in no uncertain terms, that they most definitely would not want to have to descend that Boucher Scramble, so steep and perilous had they found it.  None of them said anything about the route in between here and the top of the scramble, though.

They moved on.  We moved on.

 

Easy! Just grab a tape measure and jump! (image property of sidereel.com)
Easy! Just grab a tape measure and jump!
(image property of sidereel.com)

 

Skirting the Abyss

The Dripping Springs Trail is not for the faint of heart, or the fool-footed.  After no more than a quarter of a mile from the Hermit Trail junction, a gaping void opens up on hiker’s right, a dizzying drop-off to god-knows where- red, dark, and precipitous.  And as if that weren’t enough, the trail along this stretch is not exactly level- rather, it is slanted slightly towards the abyss, ensuring that a poorly-executed step will send you plummeting to your death instead of bumbling up against the wall of the canyon, as is preferable in such a situation.  And as if that weren’t enough, there are intermittent overhanging bushes sticking out from the canyon wall on the left side- like the overhead storage compartments on a commercial airliner, but at upper-torso level instead of head-level.  And since it’s essentially impossible to slip under these overhangs while bearing a loaded pack, you have to just kind of shuffle deftly (one hopes) around them, clinging to whatever branches, rocks, or absentee gods you can manage to get a grip on, as you hang your ass off the cliff like a person out on a ledge of a tall building trying to make their way around a protruding section of outer wall.

 

The Yuma Point Mesa stretches away into the distance.  Our planned route traced along the brink of this for almost seven miles. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
The Yuma Point Mesa stretches away into the distance. Our planned route traced along the brink of this for almost seven miles.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

 

Forever Endeavor

My wife was not cool with this.  After gritting her teeth for about a half a mile of this treachery, she asked me how much more of the hike would be like this.   I told her “About six miles”, pointing out, as I spoke, the trail ahead, which visibly skirted its way, unyieldingly, along the daunting brink of this terrible length of canyon wall as it wrapped all the way around the immense Yuma Point Mesa which lay before us.  Although you could barely, if at all, make out the trail with your own eyes, you could plainly see that it traced a route along what looked like (and essentially was) a straight vertical wall of crumbled, broken sandstone of red and white, with no discernible (from here) points of reprieve from the vertiginous madness ever-endeavoring to suck the trekker down into the scorching belly of parched rock pulsating below- insatiable, unsympathetic, and utterly indifferent.  From our current vantage point at the upper head of the Dripping Springs/Hermit Canyon drainage, you could see at least four more miles of this bullshit, though I knew there were at least a couple more miles of it around the bend and out of sight, still hidden from us.  And after that was something even worse- the Boucher Scramble, that hideously exposed descent which we would have to negotiate before we could re-up on water.

 

Slaking the dragon at Dripping Springs. (image property of http://jakehikesandbikes.blogspot.com/)
Slaking the dragon at Dripping Springs.
(image property of jakehikesandbikes.blogspot.com/)

 

It Gets Better?

AND… it bears mentioning, the section that my wife was starting to bug out over was the only part of the day’s remaining route that we had not been warned about.  Those backpackers had all traversed, in the opposition direction, every inch of the route that lay before us; and they had apparently deemed it necessary only to warn us about the scramble.  Meanwhile, we had six more miles to go on this terrifying, brink-of-death walk which, when it finally did end, would end at something far worse than what preceded it.

“Sweet, that sounds promising”, I thought to myself  as I stood there, looking past my toes into a bottomless sandstone infinity and trying to convince my wife to “Just get through this part.”

(to be continued)

 

Previous chapter: (03)

Next chapter: (05)

Dude, Check Out This Sideways Waterfall

The water is flowing once again up in Marin County; and not just “flowing” flowing- but flowing flowing.  It’s going shit-house.

But who are we kidding?  You won’t go up there.

Whatever dude.

 

Is it all just smoke and mirrors?

California really is an amazing place.

 

IMG_4110
Go Sox!! (photo by S. Jernigan)

Launching Addicted to Dirt 2.0

Addicted to Dirt has a new web domain, Deekadelic.com (but you can still use the old address, too: addicted2dirt.wordpress.org)

Now you can ask for me by name!

The staff (me) of Addicted to Dirt has (have) been on a bit of a forced hiatus this past month, while we’ve (I’ve) made some changes to our (my) look.

I'm lying in my bag, the blanket is warm This body will never be safe from harm (photo by C. Chalk)
I’m lying in my bag, the blanket is warm
This body will never be safe from harm
(photo by C. Chalk)

But now all of that is behind us (me and you); and we (I) can get back to business playing and writing.

Expect more, demand more.

Back to the dirt, Derek!

Rain Comes to San Francisco

Hooray.

We’ve been waiting the better part of two years for a non-negligible quantity of rain to descend upon the Bay Area.  And now we’ve had a handful of very rainy days in the past few weeks, and more predicted this week.  So that’s cool.

Putting the "golden" in "Golden Gate". (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
Putting the “golden” in “Golden Gate”.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

But still- it had to be on a long weekend where I had camping planned?