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Monday 28 May 2018

Batteries to Bluffs Trail

After a grey and quite cool couple of weeks, the weather has really warmed up here in the Bay Area To make the most of the sun and the long weekend (and to celebrate my birthday) we decided to head to the Presidio in San Francisco and go for an afternoon hike.

I'm always a little embarrassed to admit that, despite living here for 6.5 years, we really haven't spent much time in this part of the city at all. This has mostly been due to the fact that we didn't own a car for such a long time, and it takes a long time to get to the Presidio by public transport from Berkeley. Now that we have a car for weekend adventures I'm keen to get out and explore more of this beautiful city as much as possible - especially now that the weather is nice.

Ava and I have been feeling a little under the weather this past week, so while I would've loved to take a long hike along the coast line I figured it was best to take a short hike for now. I checked out the hiking trails in the Presidio and the Batteries to Bluffs Trail jumped out at me straight away. At only 0.7 miles (1.1km) I knew that it would be an easy hike for the kids (they walk further to school each day), and with the beach at the end, there was definitely an incentive to get them moving!

The Batteries to Bluffs Trail starts on Linclon Blvd, mid way between Kobbe Ave and Pershing Dr. Google Maps provides directions directly to the trail head making it nice and easy to find. We were lucky enough to find parking right by the trail head, however parking is also available in the WW2 Memorial Parking lot, a short walk away.

The trail starts high up above the coast and snakes its way down to the beach passing through Battery Crosby on the way. While the trail is not ADA accessible, it is fairly easy walking terrain, with a combination of dirt paths, raised decks and stairs. The scenery is stunning along the entire trail, with views over the ocean, Marin headlands and Golden Gate Bridge. At this time of year the surrounding vegetation is covered in blooms so we were treated to the sight of sweet yellow, purple and pink flowers dotted along the sides of the trail.

When we made it down to Battery Crosby the girls stopped to play on the concrete structure. They climbed up and down the walls, slid down angled sections and posed for lots of photos. The girls enjoyed playing on the battery ruins, but there was a lot of broken glass and trash to avoid, particularly on the lower level, so just make sure to keep an eye out if you stop here along the walk.

As you've probably noticed, once we reached the top of Battery Crosby the Golden Gate Bridge came into full view. It doesn't matter how many times I see this sight, I'm always in total awe - and we have a view of the bridge from home! I think I could live here my whole life and I would still be in awe of the Golden Gate Bridge every single day. It truly is a sight that doesn't grow old. I felt exactly this way when we lived in Sydney and looked out over the Harbour Bridge from our apartment and my office. Isn't it amazing how some sights just have a hold on you like that?

Anyway, check out that view! This walk was listed as taking less than 15 minutes, however it took us much longer as I couldn't resist stopping to take photos! As you can see, it was a little hazy over the bridge, but still a spectacular view. Earlier in the day as we'd been driving over the Bay Bridge into the city the Golden Gate Bridge was almost completely shrouded in fog. I hadn't been expecting much of view, so the blue sky was a very pleasant surprise.

From here the trail changes from a slowly sloping pathway to a series of staircases for much of the remainder. The stairs are generally fairly wide and are an easy walk, even if it does look rather steep.

Part way down to the beach we spotted a large rock that was just calling out for a photo opportunity, so Ava braved the wind and made her way out onto rocky outcrop for a few photos. It was fairly windy at this spot (I could feel spray from the ocean below) so once Ava made it out to the rock she was a little nervous to stand up on it. Always better safe than sorry.

After our little pit stop we continued along the trail until I found the perfect spot for a family photo - although, judging by everyone's hair and the girls squinting, it was a little windy and sunny!

Just a little further along the trail (and one more photo stop for Ava) and we made it down to the beach.

The girls spent their time collecting sand for a sand castle (which they never actually made) and running from the waves. I knew that they'd all end up pretty wet within no time, so Lola and Mathilde stripped off their dresses and just wore bike pants and tops, which amazingly stayed dry! Definitely a first!

See that big white and black rock out there? I'm sure you can probably guess what all the white stuff is! Lola and Mathilde thought it was hilarious that the rock was covered in bird poop. I got my big zoom lens out for a look and from what I could see, it looks like the rock is home to a flock of shags, while the birds flying overhead (and often dive bombing the rock) are seagulls. 

  While the girls played in the waves I went to check out the nearby rocks.

Mathilde found herself a big stick in the driftwood on the beach and had fun making trails in the sand. She also very proudly wrote her name on the beach with it.

It was now starting to get late in the day, so after a few more fun photos, a little bird watching (Mathilde thought they were pterodactyls, but they were pelicans) and a some balancing on drift wood we started to make our way back up to the car.

 Back up all those stairs we'd climbed down earlier!

Along the way I stopped to take photos of some of the wildflowers in bloom.

We stopped at Fort Crosby on the way back again and the girls had fun climbing, jumping and sliding on the fortifications. Lola spotted some graffiti that she thought was hilarious - I mean those misplaced boobs coming out of the neck are pretty funny!

Our little hike down to the beach may not have been particularly long, or all that strenuous, but combined with all that beach play and lots of laughing, it was just enough to tire the kids out for the drive back home.

I'm keen to head back to the Presidio again soon and check out a few of the longer hikes in the park. It really is such a beautiful area and we're so lucky to have it close by.

For more information about the Batteries to Bluffs Trail (and further hikes in the Presidio) check out the official webpage here: https://www.presidio.gov/trails/batteries-to-bluffs-trail

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