South Twin Peaks
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South Twin Peaks later climbed Mon, Mar 17, 2014|
The first ferry doesn't leave Tiburon until 10a, so with some extra time I drove us up to Twin Peak on our way through San Francisco. It is the second highest point in the city/county after Mt. Davidson. The unusual thing about this summit is that there is no development around the summit other than the road and trails, unusual for San Francisco. Summer fog had the city and most of the penninsula socked in all the way to the highest points, unfortunately. We did the very short hike of maybe 100yds to both the north and south summits (I think the south summit is the highest as it holds the benchmarks). It was windy and cold, about 50F. The south summit had two benchmarks that have been beaten to unreadability by the many visitors, the summit rocks covered in graffiti. The only life we saw in the area on our brief visit were a few banana slugs. Fog and cold don't seem to bother them at all.
Back in the van, we continued our drive through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County. We made it to Tiburon and the ferry terminal with about 20 minutes to spare before the first sailing. Though the fog was no longer at ground level, it hung only a few hundred feet off the water and would remain so for most of the morning.
The round-trip ride on the ferry cost about $40 for the three of us. We were joined by about a hundred others, many with bikes, a few with backpacks for an overnight stay. After a short 15 minute ride, ours was the first of three ferries to arrive in the morning within a few minutes of each other. The quiet harbor front was transformed into a teeming crowd of visitors to the State Park though it might have been easy to mistake it for an amusement park. There were overcrowded restrooms, refreshments stands, gift shops, bike and Segway rentals.
We set off on the North Ridge Trail, one of half a dozen ways to reach the islands summit, Mt. Caroline Livermore. The two mile hike took us about 50 minutes. At the top we found a number of picnic benches in three or four pockets on either side of the summit. Normally these would have fine views across the Bay, but today the only thing we could see was Ayala Harbor down below to the north. It wasn't too windy at the 720-foot summit and we hung around for about 40 minutes eating our lunch and snacks at the highest picnic table. I was hoping the fog might begin to burn off, but there was no sign of it by the time we decided to head down.
We took the Sunset Trail on the return to make a loop of our island visit, taking us back down to the Visitor Center at the harbor. Perhaps on a future visit we'll bring our bikes and take the longer route around the Perimeter Road. We checked out the Visitor Center at the south end of the harbor, consisting of three small rooms with a variety of displays. I think I read them all in the 20 minutes we were there. We passed by the island consessionaire shops on the way back to the ferry terminal and were seduced into some BBQ fare that smelled too good to pass up. The IPA beer that Dad had was pretty darn good, too.
The ferry ride back was a bit warmer and sunnier than the ride out, and at least part of the Golden Gate Bridge was visible to the west. Our last stop was to play in the fountain we found in Tiburon. We all agreed it was a pretty fun little day. Easy, too.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Mt. Caroline Livermore
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