Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's make it 56 hills!

After finding Hawk Hill last week I decided I wanted to make my hill list a bit more complete. My original list was based off this Wikipedia post (47 hills) and this SF Chronicle series (33 hills).

My final hill list includes 56 hills! If interested, enjoy the Terrain Map below where I've mapped all my hills out. The project is 50% complete!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stairway to Heaven

Wow, it's already Thursday. That's awesome and frightening all at the same time. I meant to write this post like two days ago! Here it goes...

Pumped up from Sundays trek, I went out Monday to the Inner Sunset and West Portal. First, I started with the Hidden Garden Steps at 16th. Honestly, this photo was not altered. It was just the result of the sun and my iPhone 5s.

After being blinded by the sun, I made my way to my first hill, Larsen Peak at Grand View Park. This place was quite popular. Lots of local runners getting their steps in and even some youths having a city day.

Grand View Park is a good name for this spot. You can seriously see everything. Ocean, Golden Gate Park and Bridge, Downtown, and the back of Twin Peaks. Quite grand, quite grand indeed. 

From here I made my way towards Golden Gate Heights and I passed this really neat rocky outcrop, which I think is aptly named "Rocky Outcrop" and a friendly polar bear. 

Alright, not a real polar bear. But look at that thing. Pretty much to scale. When I got up close to it it looked like the same material you use to make a piƱata. I bet this polar bear can carry a lot of candy.

To get to the top of Golden Gate Heights, also known as Forest Hill, I took this sandy path.

I'm a big fan of sand and San Francisco is built on a lot of sand. And on top of this hill's sandy surface is an enchanting canopy of trees.

I had never been to this park before but I will definitely go back. I felt really calm under the trees looking out at the Pacific. And pretty sure this couple pointing at the ocean agreed with me.

After this hill I thought I might be done for the day but then I took a look at my map and noticed another hill that wasn't on my list...Hawk Hill. I was so close to it that I had to check it out. I turned on Google Maps and put my volume on high so I could hear the voice directions. I ended up on a dead end street. Seemed a bit weird but I went with it. 

I climbed over a guard railing and walked up another sandy path to a broken down fence. 

Then at some point along the broken fence Google Maps said "Take a right." As you can see from the picture, there was no where to go on the right. It was just me and an old dirty street cone. 

It was quite the adventure. A little creepy and at some point I did have a slight fear I wasn't getting off that hill and I might be eaten by hawks...but I made it home alive. I even got to take this lovely little alley way behind rich people's houses to West Portal. 

By the time I went to sleep Monday night I honestly had forgotten I had a job and that I had to go to work the next day.  So Tuesday morning I was completely puzzled by the alarm clock on my phone. Can't wait to get out for my next hills. And here is to finding more weird ones like Hawk!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Los Pechos de la Chola

It's been a few weeks since I've hit the hills. A combination of being sick, working weekends, and some much needed rain, kept me from getting up there. But this weekend I took out 7 hills, and added about 10 to my list so hopefully my lazy streak has ended.

Let's start with Kite Hill. Kite Hill is located in Eureka Valley below Twin Peaks. This one wasn't on my original list, but every time I looked at a map it was just staring at me, taunting me!

My original list was pretty extensive to start but the more I get out there, stare at maps, look at vistas, I realize that there are a lot more hills I could add. It may mean this project will take a bit longer than originally planned, but with views like's worth it, no?

From Kite Hill the only way to go was up to Twin Peaks! 

I took a lot of these to get there...

...and it was totally worth it! It was pretty much a perfect day for this trek. The skies were so blue and clear.

I made sure to walk up both peaks too. I recently learned that the Spanish conquistadors called the area "Los Pechos de la Chola" or "Breasts of the Indian Maiden." The south peak is now referred to as "Noe Peak" and the north peak is "Eureka Peak".

And then I took this selfie to prove I was there. It was basically the equivalent of pinching myself.

To finish it off, I walked down the other side towards Cole Valley and picked up Tank Hill. It's a rocky one. I assume that's why it's called "Tank". I didn't do as much research on that one. ;)

And finally finally, I went to Say Cheese and got a delicious sandwich and kalamata olives for all my good hill climbing!