Date: February 15, 2014
Place: Lobos Dunes, Presidio National Park, San Francisco, California
Coordinates: 37.788478, -122.482079
Length: about 1 mile
I walked around San Francisco many, many times. But never did I think of these walks as hikes. Certainly not Nature hikes. When I wish to go for a nature hike I normally leave the city behind. The best view points in San Francisco, be it Corona Heights Park or the Coit Tower, the view below is of a sea of cement and asphalt. This view is considered by so many San Francisco residents and visitors to be one of the most beautiful in the world, but to me it brings much sadness to think of what had been covered by this splendid human mega-hive.
San Francisco isn't devoid of Nature, though. Far from that. As far as urban areas go, San Francisco does pretty well trying to salvage and keep as much of its natural heritage as possible. And one of the greenest areas in San Francisco and most promising in terms of natural restoration is the Presidio.
The Presidio - it's that mass of dark green just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. Used to be a huge military base - what saved it from intensive urban development. Turned over to the National Parks system merely 20 years ago, the Presidio is now one of the best places to visit in San Francisco for anyone who'd like to see more than Chinese stores, victorian houses and hairy bums.
I was there with all the Quails last February for a nice weekend vacation in which we did some exploration of thePresidio's more natural spots, and our first port of call was the Lobos Dunes Nature Area.
The creek's area, being part of the Presidio, was spared the urbanization that quickly covered the tip of the peninsula. It is the last place in San Francisco where the native vegetation is still dominant.
|Mock Heather and Coyote Brush still dominate Lobos Dunes|
|Seaside Fleabane (Erigeron glaucus)|
It was a sunny day, hotter and more beautiful than should be in February. It was just before 10:00 am on a Sunday but there were quite a few people there already. Most of them, however, went straight to Baker Beach. We, on the other hand, turned our backs on the ocean (for now) and walked up the boardwalk into the dunes.
It's good to see an protected wild preserve within The City. The City, though, is impossible to ignore.
|City all around - Lobos Dunes|
Mock heather is the dominant shrub at Lobos Dunes but silver bush lupines are also pretty common there, breaking the bright-green with their silvery-gray foliage and adding a beautiful purplish-blue touch to the scenery.
|Silver bush Lupine (Lupinus albifrons)|
|Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja affinis)|
|Sourgrass (Oxalis pes-caprae)|
|A Lobos Dune|
|A grove of Monterey Cypress (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa)|
|Lobos Valley Overlook|
|Pygmy Nuthatch, photo by Papa Quail|
|California Manroot (Marah fabacea)|
|Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus)|
|Western Fence Lizard|
|A crooked pine tree I saw near the parking lot|