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Pahavit's Universe

pahavit
Date: 10-7-2006 3:18 PM
Subject: Cayuga Playground, Ft. Funston, Lake Merced
Security: Public
Tags:baker beach, cayuga playground, field trip, ft funston, lake merced
Cayuga Playground, Ft. Funston, Lake Merced


D. and I decided not to hang around my neighborhood because of all the noise from the Blue Angels air show today (it's Fleet Week here in the City), so we went afield to the outlying areas for some peace and quiet.

First off today we visited Cayuga Playground, a small playground and park next to the BART tracks that is made extraordinary by the creative efforts of city gardener Demetrio Braceros, who transformed a great portion of the park into a kind of walk-through wonderland of wood carvings and meticulous gardens.

Tiny paths wove through the trees, rich with amazing detail. There are perhaps over 50 carvings ranging from small to large. Many carvings transformed dead stumps into eerie forest deities, sometimes animals, sometimes religious figures, sometimes more conventional totem poles.

We were able to spot most of the folk-art carvings. I liked best the God of the Tree carving behind a hinged cover that looked like a natural tree trunk, but you open it up and there's a little magical-looking dude carved inside. I invited the spirit to come out from the tree and be free.

We also saw:

  • a weird spiky fruit tree (the branches and leaves all had spikes on them -- both sides of the leaves! Nothing says "don't touch" quite like both sides of a leaf being thorny and prickly!)

  • estivating snails and sleeping snails (the estivating snails were sealed up tight; the sleeping ones had their foot sticking out from the shell a little bit)

  • empty hawk nests on the elevated BART trestle supports (how the baby hawks stood the constant racket from the trains as they grew up, I don't know)

  • BART trains whooshing by directly overhead every 5 minutes (kinda ruined the Eden-like sylvan atmosphere gardener Braceros was attempting to achieve in the place)

  • a little girl in the playground screaming "Mama, you're not looking at me!" (the worst sin a parent can commit for a 5-year-old)

  • resting on a quiet corner of the lawn, a moth with a tattered wing



Then we went to Ft. Funston, where the hang-gliders and dog-walkers go. The first thing we saw was a radio-controlled helicopter and a glider zooming around the observation platform. There were no hang gliders today; "wrong wind," one guy laconically explained. But there were plenty of dogs romping around.

There were also some hawks soaring over the cliffs, next to the beautiful sparkly sea.


Next we went to Lake Merced, a nicely-landscaped lake in the southern part of SF. There were many families picnicking, a handful of people canoeing on the lake, and a couple of people fishing.

There were lots of birds:

  • mallards

  • coots

  • cormorants (which dived under water whenever a couple of stray Blue Angels roared nearby)

  • western grebes

  • eared grebe

  • pelicans (they are extraordinarily graceful in flight; I'd much rather watch them than the Blue Angels any day)

  • 2 great blue herons, on opposite sides of the lake (this was the first time we've seen more than one great blue heron at any particular body of water)

  • red-tailed hawk



Later on in the evening we went to Baker Beach so D. could photograph the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.



The beautiful coast looking south from Ft. Funston.



A cormorant takes off from Lake Merced.



A mallard on Lake Merced looks for a snack from us.



A little eared grebe hanging around with the ducks on the lake.



One of the many coots on the lake.



A weird mutant mallard duck, one of 3 hiding behind some rocks. They were gigantic!.



One of the 2 great blue herons lurking at the shore of the lake.



A flock of pelicans soars gracefully overhead.



The golden sunset from Baker Beach.



The Golden Gate Bridge at dusk: stunning!




Thanks, D., for the most beautiful pics!


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