My Bay Area 3-Day Experience

IMG_0425This past weekend I travelled to San Francisco for the Bay Area Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.  I followed my usual pattern and travelled on Thursday with the walk starting on Friday.  I got up at 3:00 AM on Thursday morning to be at the Airport at 4:00 for a 5:28 Flight.  That’s a little earlier than I have travelled in the past but I wanted to get out there early.  I arrived in San Francisco a little after 11:00 AM.  I had made contact with a Classmate from High School who now lives in the Bay Area.  She volunteered to pick me up from the Airport and show me around the City a little before dropping me off at my hotel so that I could have dinner with my teammates.  Thanks again for that Vivi.  It was great seeing you again and having time to visit.  It also showed me some of the things in San Francisco that I would get to see a little differently on Sunday as we walked there.  The picture here is me posing near the Cliff House just south of the Sutro Baths.  After seeing the sites with Vivi I met my team at our Hotel in Corte Madera and we had our traditional pre walk dinner before calling it a night.  Buses would leave for Opening at 5:00 A.M. Friday so we had to get to sleep early.

IMG_2000As often happens to me on 3-Day Weekend, I could not sleep the best and I was up before my alarm that was set for 4:00.  We were dressed and packed and out of the room before 4:30 and ready for the bus when it arrived.  It was a bit on the chilly side as we headed for Opening Ceremonies but not too bad.  Just enough that I had to add a layer for walking that morning.  We took a couple of team pictures and filled up with water as we waited for Opening.  One of our teammates, Kathy, had to leave us for a time as she had been chosen to carry the Tomorrow Banner during Opening Ceremonies.  This year was Kathy’s 10th walk and she was really excited to have this honor.  Then we finally got down to business and started walking.  We walked through Corte Madera and down through Sausalito as we headed to lunch at Fort Baker in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The view at lunch was just awesome.  Once we finished lunch it was time to walk up the hill to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.  That was a pretty good hill.  The walk across the bridge was pretty cool.  It was crowded and there were a lot of bikes up there sharing the limited amount of space.  I also find it interesting that there are crisis call boxes at different points on the bridge.  There are also special bridge patrols with little vehicles that fit on the bridge pedestrian walk stationed at each end of the bridge.  The view from the bridge was spectacular. Once we got off the bridge we walked along the Bay until we got to Fishermans Wharf where we took a Ferry to Treasure Island where we camped for the weekend.  I thought that was going to be pretty cool until we got there.  Treasure Island was not exactly the greatest place in the world to camp.  I read an article that talks how they are developing the Island and it might be a cool destination someday but for now it’s a fairly run down area and camping in the bay is windy and cool.

IMG_0446At the beginning of Day 2 they bussed us out of camp to a starting point in Emeryville to begin our walk through Berkeley.  The morning had us walking through many different neighborhoods and most of it was up hill.  The homes were pretty different and many were built into the hills.  One of the highlights of the morning was getting to Indian Rock Park.  There was a huge rock formation in the park that once you climbed up it you had an awesome view of the surrounding area.  This picture is of me standing on top of that rock formation.  The picture really does not do the view justice.  As we moved on from here we walked up to the UC Berkeley Campus.  I am not sure that having us all walk on the Campus the morning of a Football game was a great idea.  There were some pretty big crowds of people making their way to the stadium that morning.  Berkeley was an interesting walk.  We saw an anti-war protest while we were on campus.  I guess it wouldn’t be Berkeley if they weren’t protesting something though.  We completed our tour through Berkely and made it back down to the place that we had been dropped off that morning to get on a bus and head back to camp.  We got back to camp early enough that the lines for the showers were not too long.  One of the traditions of the 3-Day is the Saturday Night Dance Party.  After other speakers and activities are complete they turn on the dance music and spend an hour before lights out dancing.  I was just going to go to bed early but it was kind of difficult because I could hear the bass from the speakers everywhere in camp.  I went to watch for a while and it was quite entertaining.  You never would have thought that the people dancing had walked 40 miles in two days.  They had a lot of energy.  One of the highlights of the night was a friendly impromptu competition between a young girl from the Youth Corps and an older Survivor who I estimate was at least 60.  Both of them were very good and in the end I think it ended up a draw.

IMG_2128Day 3 usually comes very early.  The reason for this is that we are leaving camp and we have to pack up all our gear and take down our tents before we begin walking for the day.  Our team was up about 4:30 and we were all done with breakfast and packing by the time they let us walk to the Ferry at 6:30.  The Ferry took us back to Fisherman’s Wharf to start the day.  We ended up walking back towards the Golden Gate Bridge to get on some of the trails there.  We ended up walking through El Camindo Del Mar before we got to the Lands End Trail along the coast.  This was one of the more challenging and beautiful parts of the walk.  It was mostly dirt trails and up hill but the scenery was worth it.  The picture at left is just a small glimpse of what the trail was like.  We took that trail for some time and then ended up on the road just north of the Sutro baths.  We ended up having lunch in Golden Gate Park in the Shadow of one of the two restore windmills there.  We then walked through Golden Gate Park and got to see some of the local recreation on the weekends.  There were quite a few groups having parties in the park.  There was a pond with a number of people racing small remote controlled boats.  There was even a group giving free Swing Dance lessons.  One of the more interesting things about the park is they actually put up barricades on the weekends to keep motorized traffic out of the Park on Sunday to make it more accessible to pedestrians and bicylists.  The weather was awesome and the park was pretty packed.  Once we left the park we had a couple more miles to go before we made it to holding.  We walked up Oak St on our way to the Closing Ceremonies.  I snapped a picture at one intersection as there was a sign that pointed up the Stree to Haight and Ashbury.  That neighborhood was a little different.  We got to closing a little early so we decided to get our gear and take it to the Hotel to get cleaned up before closing ceremonies to save time later.  Half the team was flying out that night so we didn’t have lots of extra time.  So we had our big gear bags on wheel that we lugged for a little over a mile to get to the Hotel.  Market St between about 7th and 5th Streets was not a really comfortable place to be walking.  It was a little scary.  We did make  it to our Hotel without incident and got cleaned up and went back to closing using a cab instead of walking this time.  Closing was pretty much like other closing ceremonies that we had attended.  We then had a chance to have a quick dinner before some of us had to head to the airport.  Next time I don’t think I want to take the red eye back home.  It’s hard to sit on the place when you really want to be streteched out and relaxing.

IMG_0458All in all the Bay Area 3-Day was another good 3-Day Experience.  We might not have been thrilled with the choice of camping locations and they really could have used more showers, but the route was excellent and the reason that we were all there for was clear.  We were there to continue to raise money to fight a killer and to raise awareness about the disease.  There may have been fewer walkers this year but those that did show up and walked had another experience that they will never forget.  I would like to thank everyone who has supported my efforts to continue walking these six years.  Each one has different things that I remember about it and I have met so many people over these years.  I would also like to thank my teammates for being part of these weekends.  Kathy, Kristin, Lisa, Stephanie, and Dale, you are all great and I look forward to walking again with you next year.  Some day we may not have to walk to find a Cure and that would be great.  For now we will continue to walk because we can.  Thanks again and God Bless.