Air Mark: Sutro Tower

We’ve always known it’s a landmark… but look,  Sutro Tower is an airmark too!

Recently, I made a trip to Seattle. As the plane took off  over San Francisco,  a layer of fog covered the city, and I got these cool pictures through the window.

San Francisco dreaming beneath its fog

Thanks to Sutro Tower, I knew exactly where we were.

sutro tower above the fog

There’s Mount Sutro Forest under there,  functioning as a cloud forest and catching the moisture from the fog. And of course, Forest Knolls, enjoying a typical San Francisco summer.



Fog and Forest Knolls, by Michaela Byrne

Michaela Byrne, who lives in our neighborhood, sent in this photograph with a lovely tribute to our weather. Her website is at

The fog has been rolling in this week in great white sheets, rolling over the hills. My neighborhood has such a tangible relationship with fog. We embrace each other, work into the depths of each other. Fog swirls around our streets and wisps through the corner of our chain link fences. Sunlight fights the buildings to reclaim its hill top territory, and the fog races through the terraces, desperate to flee. Forest Knolls, Crestmont Street, Diamond Heights, Golden Gate Heights, we are the first thing the fog truly touches when it rolls in from the ocean. We provide the surfaces and the touch for mist to coalesce, dropping off the moisture gathered a thousand miles away. We are the islands where blue butterflies still roam, the sanctuaries for coyotes and the smell of eucalyptus dust, foxes and jasmine. And we are also the final resting place of San Franciscan latitude fog.

The bright Noe, Castro, Mission owe these standing hills a debt of gratitude. We pay with our drenched sweaters and drenched in sweat climbing to our ear-popping homes to enjoy a view that fifty percent of the time is erased from sight by fog the color of a blank page, like an erased world, so that those bright districts can have shadows and open air cafes. We are the inhabitants of this cool piece of landscape.

– Michaela Byrne

Thanks, Mr Rider-in-the-Fog

Lest anyone think that all I do here is grumble about bicycle riders who don’t stay safe… especially in the fog — I’d like to talk about one I saw this evening.

The sunny afternoon turned to a gray foggy evening. The mist was already wrapping itself around the hillside and trees. And there was this cyclist, working his way up the steep Twin Peaks Boulevard.

  • Wearing a yellow safety vest and a light-colored helmet.
  • With front and rear lights.
  • Staying to the side of the road, and clearly conscious of traffic.

From a grateful motorist: Thank you thank you thank you. May the wind be ever at your back.

Twin Peaks, Fog, and Invisibility

In the last week, we’ve had some dense fog, and Twin Peaks is a great place to watch it scudding in on the wind. I was up there the other day, slowly circling the peaks, when a woman in a car pulled up beside me and rolled down her window.

“Does this road only go to the lookout point?” she asked. I explained that it continued down to residential areas on the other side. I don’t blame her for asking. The fog had settled in, transforming the place into an isolated gray mountain, with little indication we were in a city. We could have driven into … the Twilight Zone.

This nearly-invisible person is walking safely on the other side of the wall


One indication we hadn’t:   joggers, dog-walkers, and bike riders. There weren’t many up there, with all that fog, but there are always a few – diehards or fog-lovers.

To them, I have a request: Please wear bright light colors, preferably with reflectors, especially toward evening. Twilight sucks all the colors out, and the fog even more so.  The dark red hoodie isn’t bright in fading light, it’s nearly black. The person in navy blue was nearly invisible, so also the bike-rider in gray. If I can’t see you easily… All it takes is one careless or distracted or confused driver to ruin your whole entire day. Please stay safe.