Sarah and I have been to Angel Island a few times now, but never to the famous Ridge Site #4. I was able to book the famous site by reserving it way in advance, and midweek. Lucky for me, Sarah wanted to go backpacking on her spring break and, even luckier, the weather cooperated. We also took one of my coworkers on this trip for his first backpacking trip (I made sure to tell him that this is not your typical backpacking trip). For other site descriptions use these links (see trip to Sunrise site #8 in 2010, East Bay site# 2 in 2013 and East Bay site#1 in 2013 ). Sunrise camp does have uninterrupted views, but East Bay site #1 is huge, away from neighbors, and has shade and some shelter from wind. I think all three East Bay sites rock compared to Sunrise on the whole. The Ridge sites are the most exposed but have the killer views of the San Francisco skyline. Ridge site #4 has the best views but no shade and no shelter should the wind/weather head in. Each group of sites has a water faucet and pit toilet. We did the Tiburon Ferry as the pier one ferry from Blue and Gold doesn't have as many options this time of year. We caught the 10 am ferry out of Tiburon and if is about a ten minute ride. We parked at one of the lots a couple blocks from the ferry. There is one parking lot at Bank of America that is manned (but usually full unless you get there early). The lot we used said no overnight parking (I have used it twice now with no issues). Parking and the ferry are cash only so hit the ATM after parking or plan ahead. Here is Sarah before we lined up for the ferry. Trail Map is at bottom of page.
Here we are on the
island. After you take the quick 10 minute ferry ride across Racoon Strait
you are going to check in with the ranger. The rules are typical, leave
no food outside of the food lockers, no wood fires, be mindful of wildlife
and of course leave no trace. Here is the lawn area in front of the visitor
center. You can really tell it is spring, everything is a nice shade of
green. We decided to have an early lunch at the Angel
Island Cafe before heading out on the trail. It seemed a little backwards
to be having a cold beer and sandwich before the hike, but it didn't take
much convincing for me to go along with the plan. You can tell from the
shot below how crowded the island was that day...
We decided to take
the most direct route to the site today (given that you can make any trip
on the island a loop hike you always have a choice). We headed up past
the visitor center on to the paved Perimeter Road.
We let Sarah set the pace,
which allowed me to grab some great shots along the trail.
From this vantage point you
could really see the grid nature of the City - and also how steep those
We explored Battery Drew for a while. You can go inside and check out the different concrete rooms. This structure is where the gun was mounted. Yes, it was a rather large gun.
The ridge sites were built
around Battery Wallace, you can see some of the concrete structures around
sites 5 and 6, and also below site 4. Here is Sarah on the stump thinking
about how we can be so close to millions of people in the City, but not
hear any of them...
We had a nice dinner
and then watched the lights go down in the city, and the sun shine on
the bay... OK had to
do that. But seriously, how could you not want to watch the sunset out
Here is my Scout UL2 tent,
still going strong. I have only a couple minor gripes about it, but the
weight savings make it my "go-to" tent for most trips.
After Sarah went to bed I took a few longish exposures with the camera. It was hard not to catch some aliens and rockets with the shutter open so long.
It was fun for Sarah
(and Eric and I) to watch the ships travel under the Golden Gate under
the watchful eye of the tugboat captain.
Harbor Seals hanging out on