One of the charms of our neighborhood are its stairways – or “lanes.” We’ve written about them before, HERE. Recently, hiker Tony Holiday who blogs at Stairways are Heaven posted about a walk that started with Forest Knolls. His photo essay is partially republished here with permission and minor edits.
PARTIAL SUTRO STAIRWAY WALK by TONY HOLIDAY
San Francisco’s Mount Sutro has several stairways with over 100 steps. The Medical Center Way stairs that ascend from behind the hospital buildings on Parnassus total about 136. Farnsworth Lane: 149. Around on the south, east, and west sides, the Forest Knolls neighborhood has Ashwood (109 steps), Blairwood (337), Glenhaven (167), and the longest, Oakhurst Lane (353-ish).
It’s 17 steps down from Clarendon and a walkway to start.
Ashwood climbs between homes and a school [Clarendon Elementary]…
… and leads up to Warren in Forest Knolls.
That’s the school to the left.
Nearing the top here…
…Looking down from near the top of Ashwood.
At the top of Ashwood Lane, Glenhaven Lane, my next to-do stairway, necessitated a short walk to the east. Here’s Glenhaven in distance at the end of Oak Park Dr.
Glenhaven climbs to Christopher & Crestmont.
Here’s Sutro Tower viewed from Glenhaven Lane.
At the top of Glenhaven, I was planning to descend Blairwood Lane from its top at Crestmont. However, before reaching this, I got distracted by the rough dirt trailhead from Christopher & Crestmont and went up into Sutro Forest .
[You can see the rest of Tony's hike - and more photographs - on his blog, HERE.]
The moon shines bright, which isn’t so usual in San Francisco. Very often, we have fog instead. It’s moody and wonderful but doesn’t give a clear look at the moon. Tonight’s clear (if you’re still up, take a look!)
I couldn’t help pulling out my camera. It’s a little Canon point-and-shoot, maybe just a notch above an iPhone in ability, and it doesn’t much like low light conditions. In fact, my late lamented Nikon Coolpix did a better job with moon pictures. Like this one, from April 2010.
I even learned to get full-moon pictures with that (point it at the moon, make sure there’s nothing else in the field, and – for some reason – set it to flash).
This camera doesn’t do it. Here’s what I got tonight.
It was the more galling because binoculars that show the moon beautifully, down to the Mare Imbrium and the Crater Copernicus. So it was frustrating not to even get the markings one sees with the naked eye.
Until I tried taking a photograph through the binoculars. I lined up the camera lens and the eyepiece (which matched pretty well in size), focused and clicked. Here it is – not a sharp brilliant shot like those on Flickr, but probably the best moon picture I’ve gotten so far. I’m pleased. I think it’s okay for a PAS camera without an actual telephoto lens.
Three years ago, reporting on a meeting I attended, I mentioned the Hidden Garden Steps project. The other day, a friend told me it was done, and of course I wanted to see it. So off we went.
It starts at Lawton and 16th, next to a painted bench, and connects to Kirkham. Here’s the first flight up, with a snail…
If you want to see each flight of steps in more detail – and even read the names on them – there’s a website with photographs HERE.
And there are views – including one of my favorites, the beautiful Sutro Forest.
A few days ago, I posted a photo of a painting someone had mounted on their fence. And soon after, neighbor Nola sent a message on Facebook saying that by the time I posted the photo here, the original picture had been vandalized. Today, I went to have a look – and sure enough, someone had scrawled glasses and a Hitlerian mustache and forelock on it in runny paint.
I’m sad. Why would someone do this? (Unless it was the artist himself doing a Marcel DuChamp tribute.)
Here’s the original:
So some months ago, I’d asked – Did someone save the Squat and Gobble trees?
Squat and Gobble, the West Portal eatery that was being rebuilt after the fire there, had sought approval to remove a tree to provide heavy machinery access to the site. (I’d thought it was two trees that were scheduled for removal, but it was one.) But, as I reported then, work was well underway and both trees were still there. I was glad; West Portal has lost some beautiful trees, most notably an old one near the tunnel entrance when work was done there.
I wrote to Carla Short at the Department of Public Works, asking if the trees had been saved. She didn’t know. She replied:
As for the West Portal trees, only one tree was approved for removal in order to accommodate the crane for construction. I have not heard that they are planning to preserve that tree, so it may be still coming out. Their permit is valid for six months. If they found a way to work around it, though, perhaps they are preserving it, I just haven’t heard anything. If it does get removed, they will be required to plant a replacement tree, and some additional trees on the West Portal frontage.
Well, the tree was there through much of the construction, but when Squat and Gobble reopened, I found it was gone. Even the tree-basin the tree had grown in was gone. There’s no replacement tree there, nor any along the West Portal frontage. I hope they’re planning to put them in.
It’s just one tree, and it was removed through a proper permitting process. But I’m beginning to see an anti-tree ethos in this city. Whenever there’s a project, whether private or City-led, trees are the casualty. There seems to be no emphasis on trying to preserve and work around them.
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.”
- William Blake, The Letters, 1799
The other night, going for a walk, I was intrigued to see this picture on a neighbor’s fence. Since it was dark, my photos didn’t come out well, with a splotchy white reflection from the flash. But a couple of days ago, I actually made it during the day.
Thanks, whoever put it up – It’s a quirky addition to our beautiful neighborhood.
I went back to the West Portal Arts Fair yesterday afternoon. It was sunny and windy, nice for a stroll to admire all the interesting things the artists and crafters had brought. I got a bunch of photographs – used here with permission from the stall-holders. If you’re interested – go today. It ends at 4 p.m., and after that it’s gone until next year.
I tried getting a list of all the stall-holders and what they were selling, but I couldn’t find the organizer. People kept telling me he was on the other side of the road… which was rather like “jam tomorrow.” Next year, maybe I’ll try email.
Meanwhile, here’s a bunch of the stalls that I stopped at. (I ended the trip with a shoulder bag with froggy yogis, and a small welded-scrap owl.)
SOME OF THE STALLS
Across the road, this stall was selling colorful switchplates and small salt-and-pepper sets.
This one had such cute kiddy clothes, it made me wish I’d someone to buy them for. Unusually, it had some neat stuff for little boys as well, with dinosaurs and sharks and pirates.
This was unusual – photographs printed on slate (yes, the rock) and then mounted in slate frames. If I had any wall space left, I’d probably have got one … some pieces were really beautiful. The slate gave them a texture and a solidity one doesn’t associate with photographs.
These bags were simple, and beautifully made. But what made them special was the whimsical fabrics the artist chose. (I got a bag with froggy yogis on it – frogs in yoga poses.)
Comfortable clothes that still have an artisanal look attracted quite a few visitors.
A few artists let me photograph their work. (Some others didn’t want their work photographed, I guess because people sometimes rip them off by making cheaper copies.)
Figurines dressed as old men accompanied by furry animals, made of real fur – this stall seemed like it was planning ahead for winter and maybe Christmas.
I’d seen welded scrap sculptures before, but this lot from Metal Souls were unusual – it had Dr Who themed stuff like the Tardis and Daleks, Star Wars figures like Darth Vader, a few dragons, and a whole menagerie of animals from alligators to owls.
The San Francisco-themed photographs here showed scenes familiar to us San Franciscans.
Organic cosmetics, with none of the strange-sounding additives of commercial brands.
The bold jewelry designs here were quite elegant.
Each of these salt-cellars and pots was hand-made.
Ramos Designs had really pretty sparkly and unusual necklaces and earrings.
This man was explaining an odd-looking piece of furniture – the bed desk. It’s like a little book-holder, and can lock into various positions so it can become an easel, a snack tray, or a lap-top table. It folds flat. There’s a great little brochure that explains its versatility – or you could visit the Fair and get a demo.
The silver jewelry in this case was very pretty and delicate.
And the last stall I photographed: wooden toys. They were beautifully made.
Of course, that’s not all the stalls, even if I include the ones I saw yesterday. Some people didn’t want their work photographed, and I didn’t manage to get to all of the stalls anyway. (If anyone wants to send me more photos, I’d be happy to run them.)