SAN FRANCISCO BY BUS 6X January 6, 2014

Having left, or even been banned on, various Internet forums, looking for a climbing or hiking partner, I had received an offer from perhaps the top peak climber, currently active. Thinking about it, I decided to message him to see if he was serious. I got a reply! We e-mailed a little bit, and then agreed on a meet up urban climb, as by my logic, he could leave it any time and I wouldn't have to worry about it, say like being in the backcountry. Being due for another bus trip to San Francisco, that was my choice.

I made my reservations from the last year, so I got a low rate of $14 round trip. If he changed his mind and had other plans, I’d go anyway, because I love San Francisco. Knowing the forecast a week before, it had been for mostly cloudy on this day, but at least it wouldn't be rain. The forecast turned better as the day approached, and we kept in contact to confirm our intentions to meet. He states to have well over 2,000 peak ascents to my 1,400, but then I know he counts a lot that I don’t. Doing most of his peaks in one day, round trip, he is quite the speedy climber, and goes for 24 hours at a time. I wondered about such incredible speed and endurance for a sport that is considered crazy, so I had longed to meet Bob for a long time. He has his own website which I follow, and it is considered by many to be one of the best for information.

So Monday the sixth, I was up early and feeling okay. His young daughter decided to tag along, and that was fine with me. I had advertised this hike on my Thousand Peaks Club Meetup site, but I had no takers. Going to the light rail station where I had set a meeting place, I didn't bother to check to see if anyone was there, as no one had signed up. There was a nice sunrise, and I paid my fare and got aboard the train.

Going out to the distant station where the intercity bus was now picking up passengers, it came by on time, and I boarded with my ticket. Beforehand though, I had a breakfast sandwich, and emptied my system using a restroom. The sun and clouds made for a nice scene as we motored westbound on Interstate 80. I did my usual video, and we made good speed all the way to the Bay Area. Arriving early, I e-mailed Bob that I’d shortly be at the coffee shop where we had agreed to meet. He was there already.

I had to check how much cash I had loaded onto my Clipper card, and so I was good to go. Taking light rail to the Embarcadero Station, I was a bit confused as far as direction, but checked one Starbucks to see if he had gotten my message about which one we were to meet at. Walking quickly to the right place, I went inside to be greeted by him and his daughter. He appeared much older than I expected by the pictures that I have seen, and I guess he is like me, with pictures circulating from many years ago. We shook hands, and since I was ready, and they had been waiting for some time, we started out on our four hill loop.

Our objective was to hike to the top of Telegraph Hill, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, and Rincon Hill. These were four of the supposed seven classic San Francisco hills. The other three are Twin Peaks, Mount Davidson, and Mount Sutro. I didn't want to waste too much of Bob’s time, so this would be an easy, short hike, since he had to get back home for a meeting. Having wandered about, in my college days, exploring exactly what was the top of these hills in the past, I would not count any of these. Bob has different standards, but I was curious to know what he would do, and how he would write up this trip on his own website.

Telling Bob of the old hiking club standards whereby one of the chief hikers declared that the top of the mountain included structures and even trees, I surmised that it was just an early attempt to get rid of me from their section. He didn't seem too interested, and the two of them stayed fairly aloof. We hiked northwest along the Embarcadero and took Broadway west to Grant. I chatted on to Bob about myself, but he didn't seem to be paying much attention.

Coit Tower was undergoing construction, but we were able to hike to the parking lot. Since I have been here many times and don't count it as a peak, I had no problem in not reaching the top. We took pictures of ourselves, and circled around the tower, as that is my standard set for fenced off summits. They took pictures of the nice view to the south at one point, and we descended back to Columbus Avenue.

Changing our minds about lunch at the Wharf, we took Lombard Street west. Climbing up the steps by “the crookedest street in the world,” I did video. About the top of the curvy section was the highpoint of one of the double summits of Russian Hill. I led us to the top of a tennis court which I surmised was one of the summits. Taking the opportunity to sit on benches and to take a rest break, they had some water and oranges, and I took off my parka jacket.

After awhile, we took off to look for the second summit. Bob used his GPS to find a dead end street which looked to be the top. I had information that said that an intersection was it, so did a summit twirl, there. Another intersection looked higher, so I had done a second summit twirl. Bob determined the higher point at the cul-de-sac, so I did a third summit twirl. While Bob will cross over fences to climb lookouts, he didn’t wish to ascend to the top of the buildings, as he doesn’t climb trees to claim bagging a peak!

Needing drink, we stopped at a deli market where we got a table and I had some soda. Headed now for Nob Hill, that was about the intersection of Clay and Jones Streets. Passing Grace Cathedral, we declined a visit, then headed on south towards Market Street, where we might have a late lunch. I was snapping numerous photos, while they had stopped, saying to do maybe 20 or 30.

We ventured through some seedy areas, like the Tenderloin, and then came to the Apple Store. I wished to see, for my first time, my potential next, new computer, and they had it on display. Bob isn’t an Apple fan at all, and was surprised that I would spend $5,000 on a computer, however super. I explained that it supports 4K displays, which may well be the wave of the future of television. And I do a lot of video work, which he does not. As crazy is as crazy does, I haven’t purchased one yet, and may wait until another version update or a price break. Or maybe even a refurb.

We continued northwest on Market, one of my favorite hiking streets, and figured on going for dim sum. Finding the place, we quickly got a table, and they speedily came by with carts filled with delectables. I figured that I’d be treating, so chose a few dishes, and they proved very adept with chopsticks. Good! Cultured people! Not like many in the old hiking club, who refused to handle chopsticks at all, indeed, to try even to ban them!

I had plenty of hot tea, then green beans, but then Bob took the check, and refused my cash, even as tip. He is also retired, and climbs and moderates a message board, in addition to family. I had explained to him that I wasn’t doing too badly, and that it was my choice of a restaurant, but maybe next time, I’ll treat.

We then hiked on for the top of Rincon Hill. My info said the intersection of First and Harrison. We found a side street that leads higher, by the Rincon Tower, so I did my summit twirl there, and they took their own photos. Accompanying them back to the BART Station, the hike was finished at about 2:40 p.m. Thanking them and seeing them head down the escalator, I headed for the nearby Hyatt-Regency, where I snapped photos, and had a non-alcoholic beer at the bar. I had time to 7 p.m., when my bus left for home.

Meandering onto the Embarcadero, I shopped at the Ferry Building, getting some cheese. Taking my time, I sat on a bench at the waterfront, snapping photos, and hoping for a spectacular sunset. It had been cloudy but the sun did come out. Looking maybe like the sun would stream under the cloud deck and the sky would turn red, I set my video in anticipation. Nothing.

I did more video of the ferries arriving and departing, relaxing and enjoying. Night fell, so I shopped some more, and sought a bite, but many of the places were closing. I headed for the train station, got onboard, and rode to King Street, where I went for a bowl of chili and bread. Using a restroom, I headed to board the bus, which was already there. It left right on time, and I took more video.

Occupying myself with using my connection, I did video at night, but much or all of this refused to load. We arrived back to town well ahead of time, so I got a soda, as I waited at the light rail station. The ride back into town went fine.

Hiking then maybe 4.5 miles, the gain was perhaps 1,000 feet. The hill elevations ran about 376 to 100 feet above sea level. I captured 400 images and movie clips, riding 180 miles. Spending about 47 dollars cash for the day, I used the 4 fare for the Clipper card.

I worked late on my computer, and while a lot of money will get me speed, I need the will to work on photos and movies from past trips which I have sadly neglected. I didn’t think it was worth it for so few people as visit my website, but we’ll see. Contingent on what and how many more climbs that I do, I had wished that this technology had come decades ago. As the money that I spent on film could have gone for other things, so with electric or what will have been wished as far as the cash that I spent for fuel.

They say that Ultra HD will be the new standard. So things go marching on. I am into today’s technology, so I will spend for that. Sad that my slides gather dust in boxes, unscanned and with lessening will to do so. Most of my digital images remain dormant on disk, hardly to be reviewed, even by myself. Bob never said that he ever looked at my videos. Indeed, they are what is termed, now, slow TV. Video wallpaper. He hardly even looks at my photos, except for climbing beta. Few on Yelp looked at or rated my food photos, and that’s what I like to do, a sort of Minnie Pearl thing. Flaunting riches, and stamina. How ever do people see all of this?