San Francisco

The Grand Hiking Views at Grand View Park San Francisco - Guest Post for Mommy Hiker

Living in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area, I always try to find an excuse to go into the city of San Francisco.  Whether to visit family, friends or just a to visit my husband on his lunch break, I'm always willing to visit the "City by the Bay."  A part of me desires to live in "The City", another part of me loves the suburb life, and another part loves the solitude of "The Outdoors".  I've been able to find a happy medium with our "Urban Hikes" in and out of San Francisco area.

My family and I decided to start our Labor Day weekend with a hike up to Grand View Park, which is in the Sunset District of San Francisco, the west side of the city and south of Golden Gate Park.  It's a 1-acre park that has fantastic 360 degree views of San Francisco and beyond, if there's no fog!  We lucked out on arrived on a perfect clear afternoon.

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Our First San Francisco Hike!

Saturday, January 26, 2013: This was our very first hike in the actual city boundaries of San Francisco. My little brother, Kevin, came home from Buenos Aires, Argentina for Christmas break and is going home soon so we wanted to visit San Francisco before he returns to Argentina.  We've done Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf so many times that I wanted to take him and the rest of my family to somewhere different.

I wanted something with spectacular views and a relatively short hike, big bang for my buck! My parents and little brothers were coming along, so I picked a hike from "Best Hikes with Children - San Francisco's South Bay" by Bill McMillon and Kevin McMillon (A book I found at Half Priced Books).  I did not want the hike to be difficult for anyone, more in particular for my parents since they aren't really hikers.  My little brothers are young, Kevin who just turned 22 and my 16 year old teen-aged brother, Josue, who aren't hikers but when you are that young it doesn't really matter.

I chose hike #2, Fort Point-Baker Beach Coast Trail, but I decided to start at Baker Beach and hike to Fort Point National Historic Site. It was a GORGEOUS day other than being windy and a little chilly.  We stood around at Baker Beach, took pictures, watched the waves crash and let the kids play in the sand.

Family picture! Rare to have one of these since we are usually hiking by ourselves.  My son David was off swimming in the sand.

My AWESOME parents, Ricardo and Milca whom I love so much! One day I will write about about my parents journey to the United States, try backpacking from Peru to the USA in the late 1970's!

After everyone was satisfied taking a multitude of pictures we walked along the beach and headed towards a slight hill on the Presidio Coastal trail which eventually followed along Lincoln Blvd.  Right above Baker Beach was Battery Chamberlin.  I read about the Batteries in the hiking book and had a little knowledge about them but they were built during WWII to protect against any enemies that might attack the USA.  They were never used of course, but I thought it was really neat to see how they weren't visible from the beach, hidden bunkers.  My dad was really fascinated with them, I knew he would be.

We hiked along the coastal trail until we reached the Battery to Bluffs Trail which headed down to Battery Crosby.  Apparently the Coastal Trail was too dangerous to walk along, since it was closed off and had caution so we headed down to Battery Crosby.  I don't know what this flower is called but I thought it was really beautiful.

All the boys wanted to explore Battery Crosby since we only saw Battery Chamberlain from a distance.  My son was fascinated with the stairs and climbed to the top of the Battery where his uncles, and grandpa were walking.  The Batteries looked like old ruins, I loved it.

My mom did not want to go to the top of the Battery but that was the only way to the trail, so up we went and then had to come down the cliffs.  Thankfully there were stairs and railings, my mom is a little scared of heights so at least she could hold to the railings.  By this point Sophia was asleep in Jesse's backpack and David was so distracted with the Batteries and stairs that he didn't even want to be his carrier.

My little brothers, Kevin on the left and Josue on the right.  I call this my "stalker picture".  They are really into taking "artistic" pictures right now.  My brother Kevin is our excuse to visit Argentina later this year.  He's graduating from a music school in Buenos Aires, so we are going to go a month before his graduation to explore Argentina.

Jesse, David and Sophia trekking up to the top of the cliff.  I had been walking with my parents while my brothers were off being photographers, so I had fallen a ways behind Jesse and the kids.  I love this picture because it makes Jesse and the kids look insignificant.  I will explain, one of my favorite pictures ever a picture of myself hiking on Nevada Salkantay in Peru, I look tiny in comparison to the mountain.  What I love about nature is it put things in perspective, sometimes I focus on myself or my kids too much that I forget about the Creator who made this earth and all its awesomeness.  I'm digressing a little bit, but did you know there is a canyon underneath the Golden Gate bridge?  I think that's awesome.

Once we reach the top of the cliff we were back on the Presidio Coastal trail, as well as a few other trails including the Bay Area Ridge Trail.  Hopefully some day the BART will be completed and we can hike the whole thing.  It was extremely windy back on the Coastal Trail but the views were amazing.

I loved that we were able to get so close the the Golden Gate Bridge and walk right under it.  Once again it was time to stop hiking and take a multitude of pictures.  My son David was tired by this point and Sophia was awake so they switched spots in Jesse's pack. Sophia really wanted to walk.

The Fort Point area was full of tourists, bicyclists and walkers so we were really glad we parked at Baker Beach and hiked to Fort Point.  Like I mentioned before my parents are not hikers so they were really tired by the time we got to the bridge so we decided to find and area where the we could sit down while Jesse and Kevin hiked back to get the cars.

We continued on Battery East Trail which led to a little tunnel.  David was so excited about the tunnel that he jumped out of the Jesse's pack because he wanted to walk through it.  Sophia was very determined to hike herself, even though we were a few hundred feet to reach our benches.  She our little Mountain Baby and loves hiking.

We finally made it to our resting place and Jesse and Kevin headed back to Baker Beach to collect the cars and pick the rest of us up.

I turned on our Garmin GPS at Baker Beach but I did not see that we were low on batteries so I don't have my fancy GPS stats but I did track this with MapMyHike app on my iPhone.  I don't like this app too much because I've had discrepancies between with our Garmin GPS which I trust.  All I know is that we hiked between 2.05 mils and 2.65 miles and had an elevation change of about 350 feet.  This was a short hike but had spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.

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