I walked the Golden Gate Bridge last Tuesday as part of my “walking is good for me and my pain” campaign. October is the Golden Month for the Golden Gate and San Francisco. The summer marine layer abates, and only one or two storms push in on the marketing photo shoot weather in the City.
At 3:30pm there wasn’t a wisp of fog in sight, and I had to take my coat off to be comfortable for the second half of the walk. If you come to San Francisco in July, this will NOT be your experience.
For me, parking and using the ladies room at the South end bridge lot was like sex in the Tenderloin–easy and cheap and kind of dirty. I snagged a parking meter with 90 minutes left on it. The nasty little four-hole ladies room had a short line. I should have tried to hold it until I got to the north end restrooms–they’re cleaner and nicer.
It’s about 2 miles from the south vista point to the north vista point. The pedestrian path is wheelchair and scooter accessible, with ramps from south parking lot. Between the two vista points, there’s no seating nor rest space on the bridge. The road noise made conversation with my companion into a breath-stealing shouting match, and some of those trucks passing by in the right lane got close enough to make me twitch.
Oh by Heaven, the view from that Bridge is rare! Stopping for a moment, I stared back at the City, at Alcatraz, and up all the way to Angel Island. Then I turned my head to look out past the mounded tip of the Marin Headlands and then into Pacific Ocean. From my seat on an odd, uncomfortable bench (lots of benches, all of them rock-freakin’ hard) at the North Side Vista Point in the lowering sun, the San Francisco skyscrapers glowed blue and silver-white. Glowed. Really.
Because my pain is triggered by cold, I wouldn’t walk the bridge in the fog. If you’re determined, wear layers and bring a coat. And a hat. And a scarf. And gloves. And an indoor-based backup plan.
But on a sunny, breezy, perfect fall afternoon? I’ll walk the Golden Gate Bridge again, often.