I Thought He Came With You is Robert Ellison’s blog about software, marketing, politics, photography and time lapse.

Armstrong Redwoods

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Armstrong Redwoods

Armstrong Redwoods

Armstrong Redwoods

Coastal redwoods at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Parson Jones is over 310 feet high, Colonel Armstrong over 1,400 years old.

Hike starts at 38.532406, -123.002853 (Google Earth, Google Maps).

Salt Point State Park

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park on the Sonoma coast. Stunning views, plentiful seals and some cool tide pools (although the rocks on the way down are like greased butter). Apparently the sandstone from Salt Point was used to pave San Francisco which goes a long way to explain the state of the streets...

Hike starts at 38.566568, -123.331860 (Google Earth, Google Maps).

Wave Organ

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

The Wave Organ

Like the Internet, The Wave Organ is a series of tubes. Unlike the Internet it groans at you in different ways as the tide comes in and out. It’s also a nice walk on a blustery day with great views around the bay and back over to the Marina.

Kate at The Wave Organ in San Francisco

(Google Earth KML, Google Maps)

Hike starts at: 37.806707, -122.446921.

Sweeney Ridge

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sweeney Ridge, starting from Skyline College and walking up to the Portola Expedition Monument and back again.

(Google Earth KML)

Hike starts at: 37.62864, -122.463666.

Sentinel Dome

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Sentinel Dome Route

Slightly easier than Half Dome, and when you get to the top you get to look at Half Dome. What more could you ask for!

Rob & Kate approaching the top of Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park

(View in Google Earth)

Hike starts at: 37.715495, -119.584577.

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is an East Bay park spanning more than five thousand acres.

I spotted what looked like an easy four mile loop. It was nearly seven, I guess all the .3’s really do add up. The loop we did was a mix of exposed sunny ridgelines and shady canyons. We went on a ‘cold’ day which was still high 80s and a nice sweltering break from the San Francisco fog.

Kate; Jim's Place

Kate taking a break outside of ‘Jim’s Place’.

Gill & Kate

Gill and Kate, again outside of' ‘Jim’s Place’.

Gill; Pittsburg an the California Delta

Gill with a view to Pittsburg and the California Delta.

(View in Google Earth (KML))

Hike starts at: 37.958487, -121.862883.

Lake Merritt

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA Hike on May 5, 2011

The path around Lake Merritt is a pleasant hour-ish hike in downtown Oakland. In addition to a startling variety of waterfowl (apparently it’s the first official wildlife refuge in the US) Lake Merritt is the home of Fairyland which I fear I may be forced to visit in the not to distant future.

Birds at Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

(3.76 miles, 1 hour 2 minutes, average 3.64 mph, view in Google Earth).

Hike starts at: 37.808922, -122.263224.

Twin Peaks

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Twin Peaks

Not much of a hike, but Twin Peaks is about as high as you can get in San Francisco and offers wonderful views on a clear day or night. Park here and then escape the throngs by walking up one or both of the peaks.

Rob and Kate at the top of Twin Peaks in San Francisco
We often take guests from out of town up Twin Peaks. The occasion today was a first visit for a new native San Franciscan – Katherine Harper Ellison – seven days old on her first trip up to the top of Noe Peak.

Red-tailed Hawk above Twin Peaks in San Francisco 
A Red-tailed Hawk hunting over Twin Peaks.

(.49 miles, total elevation gain 201 feet, 25 minutes, average 1.17 mph, view in Google Earth.)

Hike starts at: 37.754849, -122.446607.

Golden Gate Park - Stow Lake, Stawberry Hill and Museum Concourse

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017
Golden Gate Park - Stow Lake, Stawberry Hill and Museum Concourse

An alternative to our normal loop is another three mile walk starting from JFK and Transverse. Instead of heading towards the beach walk up under the bridge and take the first right to Stow Lake.

Stow Lake
Stow Lake surrounds Strawberry Hill. There's a path around the lake with two bridges leading to the hill. I normally walk to one bridge, cross and then up to the top of the hill. It's generally pretty quiet with great city and ocean views in between the trees.

Top of Strawberry Hill in the middle of Stow Lake
View from the top of Strawberry Hill. Rudy is in there somewhere, click for a larger version.

de Young Museum
After the hill I walk over to the Museum Concourse. The de Young rises through the trees like an implausibly stranded copper aircraft carrier. It hosts a range of paintings, decorative art, sculpture and modern art. You're bound to find something you like here.

de Young Museum (Side)
The copper cladding will turn green eventually, probably before the new Bay Bridge span is finished.

California Academy of Sciences
Opposite the de Young is the California Academy of Sciences. The Academy features an outstanding digital planetarium, a three story rainforest and an aquarium. It reopened last year after a major rebuild and it's insanely popular - get there first thing to snag the first come first served planetarium tickets.

Prayerbook Cross
On the way back I detoured up to Prayerbook Cross, donated in 1894 to commemorate the first English sermon on the pacific coast after Sir Francis Drake discovered Drake's Bay (a name which didn't stick).

(2.97 miles, total elevation gain 103 feet, 1 hours, 17 minutes, average 2.29 mph, view in Google Earth, view in Google Maps.)

Hike starts at: 37.770433, -122.479941.

Lake Merced

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017
Lake Merced

Lake Merced is a natural lake near Fort Funston. It used to be San Francisco's main fresh water supply but is now the emergency reserve (somewhat worrying as a previous earthquake caused much of Lake Merced to drain into the Pacific).

The lake is also the site of the Terry/Broderick duel where in 1859 the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court (Terry) killed a US Senator (Broderick) in an argument over slavery.

The loop around the lake is a flat five mile path, unfortunately marred by heavy traffic and constant gunfire from clay pigeon shooting and/or the SFPD firing range.

Rob and Rudy at Lake Merced
Rob and Rudy at Lake Merced.

Penguin's Prayer
Gill and Rudy next to a sculpture called "Penguin's Prayer". Given the latitude I expect the penguin is praying for the next ice age.

(4.85 miles, total elevation gain 0 feet, 1 hour, 39 minutes, average 2.93 mph, view in Google Earth, view in Google Maps.)

Hike starts at: 37.712302, -122.489232.