We went to Angel Island State Park — located in San Francisco Bay and reachable only by ferry — for the Fourth of July weekend. Our goal was to climb to the highest point on the island — Mt. Livermore — and watch fireworks from all the cities around the bay.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any fireworks. The problem wasn’t us. It was the weather, specifically the fog. Here’s a view of the Golden Gate Bridge on the afternoon of July 4:
The sun was still shining when we started up Mt. Livermore, but the fog began to roll through before we got close to the top. We didn’t even get to see the sunset.
We heard the fireworks, though. Obviously the shows went on without us. And on the night of the third, we even saw a nice show from Richmond from our campsite.
Ah, well. Fog is a fact of life in the Bay Area. And we saw other things.
Angel Island isn’t very large, and the climate changes back and forth as you walk around it, depending on how much sun, fog, and wind hit the different parts. So at one point you can walk past ferns and other very green stuff that soaks up moisture from the fog despite the drought:
We saw lots of birds: cute little ones (we think they were juncos) that hopped fearlessly around our camp site, soaring raptors looking for dinner, and buzzards (also looking for dinner). We heard owls as well. We set up a round-board target and started to practise the archery pro tips we learnt at campingfunzone.com and could see our hits getting better one sling at a time.
Raccoons are a major problem at campsites, so much of one that there are hardened steel boxes to store your food in. According to my sweetheart, one stuck his nose under our tarp to sniff at my backpack. I woke up to him telling it to shoo, so I missed it.
By the way, here’s the tarp we use as a semi-tent. It’s pitched using hiking poles at one end and stakes in the ground on the others, plus a few lines tied to trees. It doesn’t protect us from all the elements, but it’s great where the main problem is fog and maybe drizzle. (My sweetheart came up with this design. He’s an engineer. It’s what they do. I’m impressed. I could come up with the idea, but not the execution.)
As we left on Sunday, we came across this doe and her half-grown fawn:
Even without the fireworks, we had a nice relaxing time. After my strenuous hike last month on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, this outing seemed the proverbial walk in the park, even when we were hiking to and from our campsite with packs on. And there were lots of people around during the day, though not so many at night. There are only a few campsites on the island. Some of the park employees live there as well, but it gets quiet at night, except for the big ships and the foghorns in the Bay.
Here’s how we got there and back again: