We’re camped in the parking lot at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It’s a very busy viewing spot for the bridge but strangely they allow overnight parking. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity! The view is all-time, Golden Gate Bridge to the right and the downtown skyline and Alcatraz to the left. Wow!
I was listening to San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) as I arrived at the parking lot. I didn’t have a flower to put behind my ear, and definitely no weed or bell bottoms, but I was a nomad (sort-of) in a van (sort-of) pulling into San Francisco for the night with my baby and dog, it seemed partially to fit the spirit of the late 60s? Ha. I love how the right song can bring more dimension to an experience.
It seems fitting I am passing through San Francisco on this Farewell Tour because San Fran was the city I flew into back in 1999 when I first came to work in the US. I spent a few days here in a youth hostel and visited Alcatraz, Pier 39 and of course took a cable car ride. That was a very young Kate, indeed I had NO IDEA what the future had in store for me and that I would go on to spend not 1 ski season in the US but 23 years. Wow. I think I did have a blue shirt with Hawaiian flowers on it on that trip, the bohemian spirit must have caught me in this town after all!
I was so excited to meet up with my friend, Katie, while we were here. She lives up near Sacramento but drove down to stay with her Mom in San Fran for the night and to catch up with me. I’m so glad we got to rendezvous and at the Golden Gate bridge of all places!
The last time I had seen Katie was for a hike up in the Uintas, I was pregnant with Millie and I remember I had to pee at least every 20 minutes of our 5 miles hike out/back and around Long Lake. Poor Katie, haha. Needless to say, I was really excited to be here in San Fran and introduce her to a now 6-month old Millie.
Katie was my Assistant for 4 years at Snowbird but if you’re a long-time reader of my blog you’ll remember it was Katie that send me ALL of my resupply boxes when I was hiking the CDT. Yep, she was responsible for keeping me fed and supplied the summer I did the 1800 mile walk, thanks Katie! Couldn’t have done it without you. I’m quite sure I’ll prove to be the craziest boss you’ll ever have (actually that’s not true, but we won’t go there. ha). Katie left Snowbird but we’ve stayed friends and in touch since.
We walked across the bridge and back and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect: blue skies and mild temps. So lucky! It was a gorgeous bustling Saturday in the bay. Ferries puttered along. Alcatraz stood prominently. The San Francisco skyline was right there. Wow! Thanks for such a wonderful day, Katie. It was so great seeing you.
I learned later than a friend I met hiking the CDT had been on a boat under the bridge at the exact time we’d been walking across it, what are the chances??? I love those random events that make the world seem just a little bit less huge.
We were having such a nice time catching up that Katie stayed for dinner. It was so cool sitting at the dining table with the Golden Gate Bridge out the window. Not only was it a table with a view but it was also a delicious dinner; I had grabbed an extra order of the salmon from the restaurant in Bodega Bay, yum. I’d also been saving a bottle of champagne my good friend, Heidi, had given me before Millie’s birth and this seemed like a great occasion to pop the bubbly! It was superb, thanks Heidi.
My parking lot had a bit of a sketchy feel after the sun went down but apparently there was a cop that sat at the entrance and did the rounds occasionally, so that was reassuring. Katie made sure to tell me, a couple of times, that if it got spooky to pack up and park at her Mom’s place a little further north. Thanks Katie! There was some really loud music coming from a car at some point very early in the morning but aside from that I had a good sleep and felt pretty safe inside our big vehicle, especially with Atlas at the ready. It was nice to see that there were a few other RVs parked near me too.
When we woke up in the morning there were streams of joggers passing on the footpath right outside the van. Evidently we were parked in the middle of some kind of bridge to bay running race, ha. I took Atlas out for a bathroom break and gazed left to the San Francisco skyline then right to the Golden Gate Bridge, hard to believe I had been parked here for the night! What a spot!!!
I was keen to get out of there and so we packed up and hit the road at about 9 a.m. in search of a big park for Atlas to stretch his legs. We found just the place below the bridge at Fort Baker. Happy Atlas.
Next stop, more epic ocean views!
Thanks for reading. -Elevated.