Getting high in the City
(Twin Peaks in San Francisco 904' and 910')

5 Jun 2007 - by Debbie Bulger

What does a peak climber do with a few hours to spend before a flight from SFO to Boston? Climb of course. After checking our luggage, Richard Stover and I jumped on the convenient BART and whooshed to the Glen Park Station, disembarking about 1:30 p.m. Our redeye flight was at 11:30 p.m., so we had plenty of time. We had never hiked much in San Francisco.

A short walk from BART brought us to the Glen Canyon Park entrance off Bosworth Street. We skirted a baseball field and headed north up the canyon. It was hard to believe we were in the heart of a large city. This 122-acre park sports grasslands, a creek fringed with willows, interesting chert outcroppings, and wildflowers. As we hiked north, the road became a path which climbed steadily. There were several creek crossings on board bridges. We hiked under shady riparian trees.

After exiting onto Turquoise Way, we soon found our way across Portola Drive at a marked pedestrian crossing to Twin Peaks Park. For much of the ascent there is a trail, although part of the trek was on the road. On the summits, first the south peak, then the north, 900 feet above the city, we were rewarded with exquisite views. The wind was so strong we were nearly blown over.

On the descent we stopped briefly at the Christmas Tree Point vista spot, then down shady Dellbrook Drive until we were stopped cold at Clarendon Avenue. Cars whisked by at considerable speed. The sight lines were very short. I can cross an exposed knife edge, but I will not dash across a busy street.

So instead of crossing, we detoured into a residential maze finally emerging at a signalized crossing. Then we followed trails and paths on the campus of UC San Francisco, stopping for food and drink at the Courtyard Cafe of the Nursing School.

Our intent was to continue on to Golden Gate Park, but we were running out of time. So we hit the city streets then traveled east through the Park's Panhandle finally catching a bus to a restaurant downtown on Geary. Our dusty packs contrasted with the linen napkins, but the waitstaff didn't seem to mind. Hey, this is California.

After dinner it was back on BART to the airport. Our hike was a fabulous way to prepare for sitting on an airplane for six hours.

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