Non-Hiking Adventures


From TheCityGirlsGoHiking attic of posts that never quite made it out into the world; on this bright, sunny spring day, we bring you a lovely rumination on the joys and perils of picking apples in the rain.

Oh, the best-laid plans. The best-laid plans that go awry when the sky opens up and starts dumping ridiculous amounts of rain all along the coast. The best-laid plans for a wander down the coast to a tiny little apple orchard with an outsize number of varietals in neat little rows.

What do you do when the forecast calls for rain on the day you’d set aside for apple picking? Why, you go anyway.

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Sometimes, on a sunny early spring day, when life has been crazy and stressful, you just need to sit. and soak up the sun. and feel the grass under your fingers. and breathe the salt air as the ocean tumbles its way past the Golden Gate and into the Bay.

Sometimes it’s worth a drive across the city for the smell of Eucalyptus trees as they rustle in the wind.

To sit beneath steel girders reaching out and up and through, slicing the blue, blue sky into manageable triangles, parallelograms, and polygons less easily described.

Where the knowing, confined mind sees “art” and either admires or dismisses: what value can we find in jumbled steel? But the young, not bound into these rigid expectations, look, and wonder, and conclude: a giant structure on which to play.

diSuvero

And who doesn’t yearn to climb these beams? Is that not the power of their artistry? Not a simulation of motion, but an invitation to engage, to move, to climb, to soar.

While the young ones dash and tumble, we are content to sit, with red-painted steel a presence above and behind us, looking towards another, grander monolith of red-painted steel and the tossing, foam-tipped chasm it traverses.

The sun is bright, but the wind is biting. We huddle down into sweaters suddenly inadequate for the deceptive, mercurial breeze.

If we were children running and shouting in the long grass, we would not feel the cold. If we were birds leaping from trees along the water’s edge, we would welcome the gusts and swells of the wind.

But we are earth-bound, sedentary, confined on this day. And the brightness of the sky, the power of the water, the damp succor of the grass—it anchors us as the wind swoops and dives, but it does not keep us warm.

Mark di Suvero exhibition at Crissy Field, part of SFMOMA On the Go

We don’t really get winter weather around here.

As much as Bay Area natives may complain about the cold, dreary winters, they’re full of sh$t and don’t know what they’re talking about.

With no snow and temperatures that stay in the very reasonable 50s, sometimes it’s tough to feel the festive holiday spirit.

But San Franciscans are resourceful! If there’s no snow to create a snowman, well, we’ll make our snowmen out of something else.

Case in point: Veggie Snowman
Spotted following the farmers’ market near T-Bell’s office.

veggie-snowman

Happy holidays from the CityGirls. Wishing you a joyous and hike-filled new year!

 

We did our favorite walking tour of the city with our friend Signorina when she came to visit with her boy.

bridge-view

At the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, we sampled some pork deliciousness in the form of Chicharrones, 4505 Meats’ light-as-air, salty and sweet “pig candy.”

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On a visit to the midwest, AM spent a food- and fun-filled day at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, aka the Minnesota State Fair.

the-crowd

Now, depending on who you ask, the fair holds different highlights for different people. But everyone can agree that one of the main reasons to go is the fair food. This is, after all, the (perhaps contested) birthplace of everything fried on a stick that you’ve ever imagined, plus a whole slew of things you never imagined could be battered, cooked up in hot oil, and eaten on a stick.

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It’s been a busy summer here at The CityGirls Go Hiking, with hikes and adventures galore. In fact, we’ve been so busy, we’ve fallen woefully behind on our blogging.

But never fear, loyal readers, we are here to remedy the situation with a bonanza of posts catching you up on our summer escapades.

We’re writing fast and furious over here, and we’ll have new posts every couple days over the next couple weeks.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store:

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Our good friend TheSailor spent the month of July sailing from Hawai’i to California aboard the tall ship Robert C. Seamans.

Today, the ship sailed into San Francisco Bay through the Golden Gate, passing under the Golden Gate Bridge. We packed a picnic and some warm clothes and went to watch the ship come in.

sailing-ship

 

Such a fancy, pretty ship. Just don’t run into the bridge now! (Yes, it’s foggy, but not that foggy.)

sailing-ship-2

Chocoholics that we are, we were super excited to learn about a chocolate farm tour on Kaua’i. Hawai’i is the only state in the US where cacao is grown, and very few growers of cacao process it into chocolate.

One place that does the whole cycle from bean to bar is Garden Island Chocolate, a sustainably-run fruit farm and small-batch, artisinal chocolate producer.

Before our farm tour, we fortified ourselves with macadamia pancakes with coconut syrup at a place that celebrated one of the island’s most notorious denizens: the chicken.

diner-chickens

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Hanapepe-sign

It was our first morning in Hawai’i. We were up by seven and ready to go explore.

First stop, how about historic Hanapepe town along the western side of the island?

Hanapepe is known for it’s swinging bridge, artist studios, and historic character. The name Hanapepe means “crushed bay,” though whether this refers to landslides in the valley in which it sits or is more of a poetic description of Hanapepe’s location sandwiched between cliffs and the sea is up for speculation.

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We went to Hawaii!

After let’s-not-even-count-how-many-years, we took a week-long vacation all by our selves and went to Kauai. (Can you see our huge grins through the interwebs and your computer screen? Cuz, yeah, they’re that big.)

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Let’s start with the obvious: Kauai is beautiful. It’s got your stereotypical tropic island beauty: Clear blue ocean? check. Expansive sandy beaches? check. Palm trees waving in the wind? Sun and achingly blue skys? Lush greenery? Check, check and check.

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But Kauai also has a wild, rugged beauty. The mountains and ridges that section off the island are sharp, jagged and lush. Between the sandy beaches are miles of rocky shoreline where the surf pounds into the rocks, creating sprays and blowholes.

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On the western side of the island, Waimea Canyon is so vast and deep that it’s called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” It’s verdant with greenery and rich red soil and has branching fingers of rivers and crevasses that make the comparison all but impossible.

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And let us tell you; the birds are great. We had just arrived on Kauai and were walking in to the rental car office when T-Bell stopped dead for a moment. “They’re not crows, are they?” she said. A couple dark birds were waddling around by the door, and city girls that we are, we just assumed they were the ubiquitous crows we see everywhere. But these weren’t crows. Ubiquitous, yes, but some other, much more interesting sort of bird.

20130617_chickenInstead of pigeons, we’ve got the Common Myna, a dark brown bird with yellow legs and beak and thick white stripes on the wing. They don’t fly too well, and they do this silly awkward bob when they hop along the ground.

Instead of crows, there are chickens. Chickens and roosters everywhere. On the side of the road, wandering through the parking lot, in any green space that is regularly mowed (i.e. pretty much everywhere in resort-land). Most of the roosters are gorgeous, with lush feathers, vibrant colors, and plumed tails.

The third ubiquitous bird is the Cattle Egret, an elegant white egret with a peach-colored patch on the back. These egrets hang out on the side of the road with the chickens.

Stay tuned for more tales of our adventures on the Garden Island!

 

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