Sunday, June 14, 2009
Coit In the Act
Read this blog long enough (or look at the travelogs in the sidebar) and you’ll discover one of my favorite cities to visit is San Francisco. In all my trips, one of the few things I’d never done was visit Coit Tower. It’s an iconic landmark that, it turns out, isn’t as easy to find on foot as you might think.
We were actually heading to another tourist attraction – the crookedest street on Lombard – when a local recommended we instead climb up to Coit Tower for a view. The unmarked stairs, he said, were just around the corner. True enough. The climb would include a lot more sets of steep stairs often bisected by homes and roads, but it was totally worth it just to experience an urban hike like none other.
This is not for the weak of knees or tender of foot. We had one of each in our trio, but once you get to a certain point, ‘tis better to just keep moving upward and onward. At least I believe that's what my husband and sister were thinking since no one had a spare breath to talk.
The succession of stairs move through the flower-festooned historic Telegraph Hill neighborhood. Blessed with cool temperatures and bright blue skies, we sometimes stopped to take in a lovely hillside garden and mural or to determine if we were still on the official route or someone’s private property. Unlike a lot of tourist spots, this one lacked any signage with directions.
Bolstered by the brisk bay breeze behind us, we continued to climb until we finally reached a leafy park and came upon the base of the tower – and a parking lot. With cars and tour buses and not just limping pedestrians massaging their quads and calves. Who knew.
It costs $5 to take an old elevator up to the top and back down. There are no other options to the top if you want to take in the view, snap some photos and pretend you’re one of the snipers in an old Dirty Harry movie.
Oh, and here’s that view of crooked Lombard Street.