MT. SUTRO (911') AND SAN FRANCISCO BY BUS 7X March 17, 2014

Having done a few longer walks about home, I felt good enough for attempting a trip with an easy peak hike. I have never hiked Mt. Sutro (911’), being now a nice, new park, opened with hiking trails. Doing some research, I asked another peak bagger to see if he wished to hike together for another urban summit series. This would be the last, for me, of the classic “Seven San Francisco Hills.” Given his current enthusiasm for gain and uphill, with some tech enabled web mastering, we had to reschedule once, then I made my bus reservations as agreed to do this on Monday, St. Patrick’s Day. This day was picked by his family commitment.

Getting up by about 7:40 a.m., I e-mailed him to let him know that I wasn’t feeling too poorly. Taking the local light rail out to the station where the intercity bus picked up, I had plenty of time to use a restroom, buying a soda. Told that we had to transfer then to another bus, I had to rush using the bus toilet, but got aboard the new bus, assuming that the first bus couldn’t make the trip.

Departing 20 minutes late, the weather and roads were good, so we arrived to the station in San Francisco on time. I didn’t have a window seat so didn’t do any video, as the light wasn’t so dramatic or different from plain sun, anyway. Inadvertently, I swiped my electronic card for fare against a train scanner, seeking to determine my card balance. Not realizing that I had done this, my card had been debited over $13. I then sought to add value by another machine, but I was told some fare machines were glitchy. Walking over to the drug store, I added cash value so I could ride Muni.

Good on time, I rode the light rail under Market Street, and through a couple tunnels. Able to debark at the right stop, it was a steep hill climb up the sidewalk to the coffeeshop where we had set to meet. I had to use the restroom, and then waiting, had some apple juice. Bob showed up on his bike at about 2 p.m., so locked it there, and we started our hike.

Taking first the main road that goes up toward the top of Mt. Sutro, I took photos, and then we came past parking lots, and then to the East Ridge trail, with signs. Through many areas with poison oak, I enjoyed the eucalyptus forest, then we topped out in half an hour from the street. I did my summit video and photos, and other hikers came by. We began to descend, seeking to hike several hills in parks to the west, but I wished to do some exploring, so we went back up to the top, and took another trail down. Eventually coming to the Christopher Trail, there was a short steep section to come to the road below, which led to a nice stairway. We took this down and then to Clarendon Avenue.

I had a paper map by my printer, and from a computer map that didn’t seem to be right. I couldn’t read some of the street names, as the copy wouldn’t enlarge or print so they were better legible, but we took the sufficiently right streets to get to a high hill. I wished to hike Hawk Hill Park, Golden Gate Heights Park, Rocky Outcrop, and Grandview Park hills, derived from my Net map, but it seems that the streets confused me. Bob had his GPS and revealed that he had hiked and biked these hills, this morning, in seeking a parking spot for his car.

Guessing in choosing which way to go, I knew that we had time and energy to explore. We finally came to a park, me figuring that it was Hawk Hill, but Bob had seen a sign. I did a video summit twirl, but wasn’t planning on counting this as a peak. Descending another way, a sign indicated, “Golden Gate Heights.” So, I then was convinced that we had missed Hawk Hill Park. We had taken stairways and streets not indicated well on my map, so I was pretty mixed up. Taking more streets heading north, I couldn’t determine any Rocky Outcrop, and asked a neighbor for directions. He referred to a “Turtle Hill,” so we walked on, and I then caught sight of a nice hill and park. We climbed up a good staircase and had the best view of the hike. I did more camera work, but it was windy and chilly. Bob had only a cotton T and shorts, so rushed me off the summit. Going down some steps to the east, I stopped for a photo of a sign, then we were back heading for our start point. I was better able to see where we were going.

Past the UCSF Med Center, we arrived back to our coffeeshop, in about 2:40 round trip, with Bob’s bike just fine. Chatting a short bit, we shook hands, and I sauntered back to the light rail where a train came by to board, back to Downtown. Relieved that we had done the hike O.K., I thought of how to spend my remaining time. On the ride, I spotted a new burger place, so went there for food.

Back to the bus pick-up point, I then figured what I had done in swiping my card inadvertently. There was no one to take this up with. I gamble more than that and lose in a few seconds, but I’d have to see if I could retrieve any money. One flaw in this system.

Using the restroom and having drink, I boarded the intercity bus, which left on time. The setting sun made for nice video, and I felt better, as usual, after a good hike. Safe and successful, then enduring a longer wait once back to town, and to board light rail to get back home.

So, we maybe hiked 3-4 miles, with 1,000 feet of gain. I captured 231 images and movie clips. Charging $13.50 for the round trip fare and reservation fee, I lost maybe $13-14 on the inadvertent swipe, then about $26 for food and drink, then $5 cash for the added fare. Hardly worth it for what I decided to count as a peak, but I did get out, and saw that my uphill muscles do need some conditioning.

Bob states that he has family, so wouldn’t ride along on my road trips. I sought to get someone for a longer one that I am planning by my Meetup group, but that is futile. You have to be good friends to carpool for a lengthy trip, let alone sharing lodging, and hiking. I’m wasting money seeking to have it like we once did, with a peak climbing club, and common safety and goals.