Early Spring in San Francisco - Golden Gate Park

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January 30, 2004

Outline and Background

This walk is Kristine Smith's fault. She is a very talented writer of character based science fiction. She noted that the weather was unpleasant, and being the helpful and supportive person I am, I pointed out that it was spring in San Francisco and volunteered to go out and take pictures.Map(s) of perambulations below.

Planning and Route Description

The weather forecasts were for overcast but not rain, not that it would matter too much for a City walk. Anyway, out the front door, across Alamo Square to the Panhandle to the end of Golden Gate Park and across to the used record store at the Haight St Gate. Continuing across the Park to the Conservatory, through the Rhododendron Dell to a Japanese noodle place for lunch. Finally, dipping into Strybing Arboretum before crossing the Park to the bus home.

Hike Description

Temperatures were fairly brisk, so I kept a good pace. Admired the House with the Tower after taking pictures of trees convinced that it is winter. Managed not to spend much money at Amoeba by leaving my list in my checked bag. Admired the bedding plantings at the Conservatory, pictures of the succulents in full bloom and a nice cluster of bananas across the road. Continued through the Tree Fern Dell, which at this season is missing the Gunnera understory.

Just a few of the earliest Rhododendrons are blooming. The Dell itself still is a mess after the disastrous windfalls of several years ago. Nice Magnolia campbelli on the south side. On the way out, supported a Park gardener who was explaining to a yuppie female that her two dogs were required to be on leash, besides the lack of respect for the AIDS Memorial Grove and harassing the ravens. Excellent noodles and tempura at Hotei (well, duh, under the same management as Ebisu across the street).

Final leg was into Strybing Arboretum for a look around at the beauties there. Also the obligatory stop at the granite fountain whose creator I wish I had the money to hire to design me a garden hot tub. The Japanese Banana was just in bloom. The Daisy Tree was nearly finished. The Magnolias were still a couple weeks away from full shows but still spectacular (the flowers are nearly a foot across...even a single one is pretty amazing).

Summary and Technical Details

Maybe 3 or 4 miles, with all the wandering, in easy stages.

Weather and Conditions

The weather was cool, but not windy and overcast. The trails are generally in good condition (mostly paved), with just a few muddy spots. Fair amount of early spring floral display from exotics. Rhododendrons and Magnolias are just starting.




Map of the area, route in fuschia, red and blue

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Map of the East end of Golden Gate Park, route in fuschia, red and blue

Larger Image

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Early Spring in SF - GGP / Robert Parks / rparks@lvhot.org / revised Jan '04