After a tasty breakfast at the Sea Breeze Cafe, we drove to the Legion. As we passed by Sutro Heights Park, Sarah saw a woman in the jewelry classes she’s taking, also on her way to the show via the bus, so we gave her a ride. This turned out to be a good thing, as the Legion of Honor (and the De Young Museum) are free during the month of May for any customers of Bank of America or MBNA and one guest. With Sarah’s MUNI Fast Pass, we got a $2 discount on the other ticket, so all told, 3 admissions cost us only $8!
Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker”
The show features some staggeringly beautiful and finely-crafted jewelry from the turn of the 20th Century through recent times. I definitely preferred the Art Nouveaux and early Deco pieces. Some of these by Lalique were simply breathtaking! It’d difficult to imagine how long it took to construct some of these detailed works, and also difficult to get one’s head around the sheer quantity of diamonds and other precious stones incorporated. Sarah was particularly impressed, since she’s 1 week into an 8-week, full-time, intensive jewelry-making school.
Sculpture at the Legion of Honor
Since we paid nearly nothing to get in, we didn’t feel the need to visit the other galleries at the Legion; although they have many fine works, we went through the whole museum a few months ago when they had a (very good, but crowded) Monet exhibit.
Land’s End, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, has trailheads right next to the Legion of Honor, and we decided to have a little hike in this, one of my very favorite places in San Francisco to hike.
Right off the bat I saw a Western Kingbird (LIFER) perched atop a tree. Naturally, I didn’t have my SLR with me, so couldn’t get a photo of it. Too bad, since it was close by and in good light! In the Lincoln Park golf course green were Western Scrub-Jays, Brewer’s Blackbirds, and American Robins, foraging in the grass.
A busy bee on a non-native Iceplant
We walked down El Camino del Mar a short ways to the signed junction with the Coastal Trail. The NPS has been doing a lot of work on the trails in this area recently, most of it for the better, and there are now nice signs with the directions to the Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge, Cliff House, and other nearby attractions.
Going west on the Coastal Trail, we enjoyed great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and closer in, China Beach, Baker Beach and the densely wooded hills of the Presidio. Brown Pelicans soared overhead, along with a lone Red-tailed Hawk, and while looking at a gull on the ocean, I spotted a pair of Pigeon Guillemots next to it. We climbed a few stairs, then descended many (this walk is by far easier the way we did it, rather than the opposite way, due to these stairs!) and soon came to the spur trail to Land’s End.
Mile Rock “Beach”
Land’s End is one of my favorite places in San Francisco; situated on the very northwestern tip of the peninsula, it has great views north across the Golden Gate to Marin Headlands, as well as nice vistas of the bridge, and a small rocky beach. There’s also a low stone labyrinth that’s fun to walk – although only a few inches tall, it’s large enough to require a couple of minutes to get through. To get there, you walk down at least a hundred steps to a small plateau, from which you can continue down another dozen or so stairs to the (very rocky) beach, or go around the plateau to a nice vista. Today we did the latter.
The center of the labyrinth at Land’s End
On Mile Rock a short ways offshore, there were a few dozen Brant’s Cormorants, and at least one Pelagic Cormorant that I identified only when it took off and showed its dual flank patches. Land’s End is often quite windy, however, and today was no exception, so after I walked the labyrinth and we took in our fill of the views, we trudged back up the dreaded stairs and continued west on the Coastal Trail until it meets a spur trail by the VA Hospital, which took us back to the parking lot at the Legion of Honor.
This is a wonderful little walk that I’ve done many times and look forward to returning to again and again – it’s a “must-do” for any nature-loving visitor to San Francisco IMO!
Birds seen (12 species):
– Brandt’s Cormorant
– Brewer’s Blackbird
– Brown Pelican
– Common Raven
– Pelagic Cormorant
– Pigeon Guillemot
– Red-tailed Hawk
– Red-winged Blackbird
– Rock Pigeon
– Western Gull
* Western Kingbird
– Western Scrub-Jay