At the Braeside B&B we had our first of many “full Scottish” breakfasts. It’s a good thing we were walking 14 miles a day — it definitely justified our massive breakfasts!

Traditionally, a full Scottish breakfast includes fried eggs, a rasher of bacon, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, toast, and of course, lots of tea. And sometimes you’ll also get porridge, fruit, or tattie scones (more on these scones later!). It’s quite the substantial meal! Fortunately for us, the good folks at Braeside let us preselect what we wanted included in our breakfast, making it a little more manageable for those of us accustomed to just toast or yoghurt in the morning.

Into the hills

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A couple weeks ago we spent 7 days walking the West Highland Way in Scotland. At 8-18 miles each day,  the West Highland Way takes you 96 miles from just north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.

The West Highland Way starts in the town of Milngavie (pronounced Mill-guy), just north of Glasgow. We took the train up and had fun on the way trying to spot who else might be embarking on the same hike. At the Milngavie train station, we handed off our luggage to the baggage carriers who would be transporting it for us, and then with just our daypacks, we struck off to find the start of the trail.

Start of the West Highland Way at the Milngavie train station

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It was supposed to be a warm, sunny day.

We had slathered on the sunscreen and filled the Camelbaks up to capacity. The weather forecast said 68 and sunny throughout Marin.

But as we approached it, the bridge was wreathed in fog. And as we started up Mt. Tam to Pan Toll Ranger Station, the fog got thicker. And thicker. And then it started to drip rain in spurts. And the fog was so thick you could barely see 50 feet up the road.

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Last weekend a little bit of summer snuck its way into February here in San Francisco. To take best advantage of the sun and the three-day weekend, we set a theme for ourselves: a long walk to a different neighborhood each day where we would get ice cream at one of the city’s many fancy ice cream shops.

We kicked things off on Saturday with a walk down to Dogpatch, a neighborhood just a bit south of the baseball stadium and very much in transition over the last few years. Dogpatch has been one of our favorite areas for longer weekend runs as it’s usually quiet on weekend mornings, plus there are nice views and breezes along the Bay and there are a bunch of cute restaurants and food shops. (more…)

Sometimes you need a quick, easy hike with great views and an excuse to go to Sol Food for dinner. The Tennessee Valley trail has become our go-to for these situations.

We needed some time out of the city, but we didn’t have time for a full day hike, so we made our way across the Golden Gate Bridge and, after checking to make sure traffic on Hwy 1 wasn’t too horrible, wound our way through Marin neighborhoods to the Tennessee Valley trailhead.

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First of all, yes, we know, we’ve been gone from the interwebs for far too long. Don’t worry, we’ve still been hiking. We just haven’t been so good about chronicling our hikes.

But we tried something new last weekend that we want to tell you about.

We did our first trail run.

That’s right, your CityGirls are now officially among those crazy people who go running on hiking trails. It all started when we decided to run a half marathon. Did we consider ourselves runners when we made this decision? no. Had we ever run a race before? well, AM has, but T-bell has not. Had we ever run more than 5 miles, much less 10 or 13? ummm…

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Took a stroll through the eucalyptus and pine scrub of the Presidio after work today.

Chancing upon a patch of sun-ripened, summer sweet blackberries is more than enough reward for the quick pace up the hill. The patch has been picked over in spots easy to reach from the trail. I’m not the only one who can’t resist berries right off the vine.

But if you know where to look behind the branches and under the leaves, there are ripe, juicy berries waiting still.

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Check out the great artwork bark beetles did in this fallen log!

Stay tuned, and we’ll tell you all about our great hike down the Peninsula with the Woodswoman.

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.

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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

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