August 26, 2009

You're a butterfly. And butterflies are free to fly. Fly away, high away, bye bye.

August 13, 2009

Golden Gate Park Day - How to Spend the Afternoon

piece of recycled denim by sfcphotography

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is so huge that you could easily get overwhelmed trying to decide how to spend your day there. Fortunately most of the key museums and park activities have great people behind them and so have quite extensive information on websites.

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California is now open for business after many years of construction and rebuilding after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. It is a destination that will satisfy young and old.

[Fun fact: Levi Strauss Co donated 200,000 pairs of jeans for the insulation of the new museum. Ultra Touch is a U.S. company that makes denim insulation for houses and commercial buildings too]

This entire concourse in Golden Gate Park is such a wonderful destination for any trip to San Francisco. As you travel through the park, you will find a golf course, places to fish, see roaming buffalo or sail a model boat.

At the very end of the park, resting against the edge of the Pacific Ocean, at Ocean Beach you will find two places to rest and enjoy a meal. The Cliff House is a landmark from 1863, but with several options for dining based on price and atmosphere. Also close by, and truly at the edge of the park, next to the old Dutch Windmill is the Beach Chalet and Park Chalet. They are offer casual dining with incredible views and great food.

Top 5 Attractions in Golden Gate Park:
  1. California Academy of Sciences - get your smart on!
  2. De Young Museum - get your arts and creative juices flowing!
  3. Japanese Tea Garden - feel the serenity of Japan...omm
  4. Steinhart Aquarium - dive into watery depths of awe!
  5. Convervatory of Flowers - smell your way to heaven...ahhh

August 9, 2009

NorCal Day-tripping with my iPhone

We recently took a drive east about two hours for a little change of scenery and for warmer climes. Summer in San Francisco is incredibly chilly compared to the rest of the Bay Area.

San Francisco is a great starting point for day trips. In two hours you can go from a foggy urban city to a sweltering wild west town. These images are from my new iPhone. We stopped along a quiet road on the way to Jackson.

August 3, 2009

Tasmanian blue gum is too aggressive

Take a close look because the Presidio of San Francisco is replacing all of these with cypress and pine trees. With 300 acres of eucalyptus, pine and cypress, the 123 year old Presidio is changing and redefining its historic forest.

Check out the Presidio Trust’s reforestation efforts here...

The forest is the most dramatic example of how people shaped the Presidio’s landscape. Its 60,000 trees provide an important wildlife habitat (the forest is home to more than 250 different species of birds) and contribute to the Presidio’s National Historic Landmark status.

In the late 1800’s the Army began the prodigious task of transforming the Presidio from mostly open dunes to a richly forested, park-like reserve, similar to New York’s Central Park. Following a plan developed by Major William A. Jones, the Army planted some 100,000 trees over 14 years along the Presidio’s ridges and entrance gates. The first trees, donated by Adolph Sutro, were planted in 1886, on Arbor Day. The eucalyptus, pine and cypress groves accentuated the post’s size, sheltered it from the winds and created a clear visual distinction from the surrounding city. It was the Army’s most impressive accomplishment in landscape architecture. No other military installation in the nation has ever undertaken landscape planning on such a grand scale.

The relatively short period of time during which the trees were planted however, created an “even-aged” forest. And while the eucalyptus have thrived, the cypress and pine have begun declining simultaneously. Presidio forester Peter Ehrlich is leading an ambitious effort to revitalize the forest over the next several decades.

“The goal,” says Ehrlich, “is to create an ‘uneven-aged’ forest that can be more easily sustained and will be a healthier forest in the long run.”

Each year the Trust replants two to three acres of pine and cypress. Since 2002, more than 2000 trees have been planted, with a careful eye says Ehrlich “towards preserving the qualities that define the forest’s character, like the orderly, military alignment of the trees.”

Staying one step ahead of nature is as Ehrlich puts it, “a daunting challenge.” One he has, at times, met with the latest scientific methods. Several years ago, in the face of an outbreak of pitch canker disease among Presidio pines, Ehrlich and his staff, along with foresters from U.C. Davis identified, then cloned Presidio pines that showed resistance to the disease. In 2004, more than 140 of the experimental, disease-resistant trees were planted. Five years later they appear to be thriving.

Current efforts are focused on finding a less aggressive and invasive replacement for the Tasmanian blue gum, a eucalyptus tree that can live to be 300 years old and is the most populous tree in the Presidio. The new tree Ehrlich says would look the same as a blue gum and be the same height, “only without the aggressiveness.”

August 1, 2009

Within Fort Point in San Francisco

Fort Point has stood guard at the narrows of the Golden Gate for nearly 150 years. It has been called “the pride of the Pacific,” “the Gibraltar of the West Coast,” and “one of the most perfect models of masonry in America.”

Fort Point was built between 1853 and 1861 by the U.S. Army Engineers as part of a defense system of forts planned for the protection of San Francisco Bay.

These photos were taken on different days but I never get tired of standing inside Fort Point. What an amazing perspective to have on the Golden Gate. Can you imagine what it was like over 100 years ago to be here, without the bridge?

Fort Point is a national historic site and one you shouldn't miss if you come to San Francisco.
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