Apartment Hike #2 (Part B)

October 3, 2011 § 3 Comments

…continued from Part A.

Before we continue, did you know that September 17 is Constitution Day?

Chrissy did.  And did you know that Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution?  Now you do.

From the Inner Sunset we headed into Cole Valley for some uphill. Way, way uphill. Running sounded like a good idea, so that’s what we did.

It was easy.  And by easy I mean painful.  Ferg also figured out that skipping uphill is basically impossible.  From here, it was time for steps…which we also ran up.

These took us to…

Stop #5: Michelle and Dave’s, Mount Sutro.

Dave and Michelle (and Cooper, their dog) had an amazing view and a RIDICULOUS amount of delicious food at their house.  It was fantastic. We arrived sweaty and out of breath, and ended up hanging out there longer than the allotted 30 minutes due to some coordination problems with two other hikers who wanted to meet up (after about an hour we realized that they were waiting for us at Michelle and Dave’s old house across town.  Whoops.)  We decided to meet up with them at the next stop.

Fully fueled on pulled pork, mac and cheese, and brownies, we finally hit the road again.  This next stretch would be one of the longer ones of the day.  Road sodas in hand, we left Mount Sutro and headed down into…a forest.

Yes, really.  This little jungle is nestled right behind Michelle and Dave’s, and is home to the only mountain biking trail inside the city (we actually had to let a few bikers pass by.)  We emerged from the forest for yet another hill…

…and a few more stairs…

…to the top of Tank Hill, for a pretty fantastic cityscape.

(Note: Tank Hill was actually a hill for a water tank, not an army tank.)

At this point we were pretty far behind schedule, so we had to get our move on.  After a handstand attempt at the spot where the water tank used to be…

…we headed downhill (finally) toward Upper Market and passed a minibus that, like Chrissy, understood the importance of Constitution Day.

We successfully completed our first crossing of Market (the main drag you can see in the picture above from the top of Tank Hill)…

…and managed to find a ledge to set the camera on autoshoot and posed for a full group shot.  From here, it was down through Noe Valley to…

Stop #6: Summer and Ryan’s, The Mission

This stop resulted in 2 more hikers, 2 dogs, and a Katy Perry dance party.  But 30 minutes later we were on our way again, through the Mission to…

W-K MARKET!  The same stop we made last year.

Cutty bang time.  This year tasted a lot better, for some reason.*  We continued through the Mission without encountering A SINGLE bacon wrapped hot dog cart (a miracle)…

…successfully completed our first freeway crossing…

…and hiked up to the top of Potrero Hill to…

Stop #7: Ferg’s, Potrero Hill

Quick stop, we met up with 3 new hikers (and acquired another dog) and headed downhill (thank God)…

…to freeway crossing #2.  Completed our second freeway crossing successfully, with some people showcasing their parkour skills down into SOMA.  Counting strollers was long gone, but a few hikers were so happy to be on flat ground again that they just kept on skipping.

As dusk fell, we headed into downtown, crossed Market Street for a second time, passed City Hall…

…and marched straight into the Tenderloin to our old favorite hang out, Harrington’s Pub: where people smoke inside and dogs are welcome (which worked out great for us).  We asked a lady in the bar to take a group shot.

Apparently she’d been hanging out at the bar for a while.  But to be honest, it was probably better than any of us could do at that point.  We finished up our drinks and hit the road again, where we saw…another double decker red bus.  Why these things run through the Tenderloin I will never understand.  This meant only one thing:

Time for The Outsider, another Tenderloin gem.  From here we put on our blinders and made our way up the final hill to our FINAL STOP!

Stop #8: Sherwin & Peterson’s, the Tendernob

Victory.  Pizza and football for everyone.

Finishing time: 8:30pm

Lessons Learned: Carl is the fastest skipper in the group; they won’t let you in to a marijuana store “just to go pee”

Flora and Fauna:  Max, Lani, Cooper, and Huey.

*UPDATE: The Cutty Bang was on ice this year.  General consensus is that’s why it was so much better.

Apartment Hike #2: Skip the City (Part A)

October 2, 2011 § 4 Comments

Like, literally.

Some fortunate people with calves like this had an advantage:

Most of us did not.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Location: San Francisco

Distance: 14.04 m

Entry Fee: A good attitude, willingness to walk up hills

Apartment Hike #2 was a massive success…no thanks to me.  A huge HUGE thank you goes out to Molly, Peterson, and Ferg for making this happen.  And, of course, all of the hosts.  Without you, there would be no Urban Apartment Hiking.



  • 30 minutes at each house
  • Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Carts–duh
  • Red Double Decker Tour Buses = chug a beer at the nearest bar.  5 minutes max.
  • Bay Quackers Duck Bus = shot of the warmest garbage tequila on the dusty bottom shelf from the nearest bar
  • Every time you see a stroller, you get to tell someone to skip.  That person has to skip until the next stroller is spotted, and the skipping gets passed along to someone else.


Stop #1: T. Dude and Eden’s, The Richmond.  Newly engaged.  Champagne for everyone.

Eden couldn’t join, but was gracious enough to host.  Their new apartment is awesome.  We left the first stop with almost 20 people in tow…21 if you count the one in utero (Summer is a TROOPER).

Pat and Foster skipped through the park…

…and right into our first Red Double Decker bus.

Which landed us in Yancy’s at 10:45am.  Sherwin (attempted to) skip through the door.

On our way to stop #2, we saw Red Double Decker Bus #2…but decided to hold off on our second bar stop until after we had hit all the stops on our Inner Sunset lineup.

Stops #2 (Telleen, where we were provided with delicious fresh fruit), #3 (Molly, who made some fantastic cookies), and #4 (the Hesslers, who provided a wide range of delicacies) were all within 4 blocks of each other in the Inner Sunset.  And that’s exactly how it went: boom boom boom.

Telleen's backyard

Happy Hikers, The Hesslers backyard

Then we hit the road again…

…and walked the 3 blocks down to the Blackthorn Tavern for the second bus stop.  Lara skipped.

(Gold star to anyone who can identify the origin of the yellow sunglasses.)

At this point we were halfway through our stops but had only been hiking for about 2 hours.  And it had all been flat. We were fully fueled and ready to attack the upcoming hills. Things were about to get a lot gnarlier…especially for skipping.

To be continued…

San Frantastico

September 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

Another urban hike down.

Everyone survived.

Report to follow.

Going, going, back back…

September 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

Guess where I’m flying to after work today…

…and, in addition to celebrating the engagement of four of my friends (2 + 2), guess what’s going on while I’m there…

Oh yeah.  Back to our roots.  Urban hiking.  Get ready.

Hike #20: The Apartment Hike–Second Installment

May 24, 2010 § 1 Comment

con’t from previous post…sorry for the delay

This next stretch would take us through the Tenderloin, under a freeway overpass, and up Potrero Hill.  Fueled by celebrity gossip and Bud Light, we attacked this leg with a vengeance.  But no sooner had we walked down the hill from Molly’s place and into the Tenderloin did we see….our second red double decker bus.  What it was doing in the Loin, I do not know.  But we hustled our way into the nearest bar, which just happened to be…

Bar Stop #2: Harrington’s Pub, the Tenderloin

“Smells like cigarettes and omlettes.  My superior deduction skills tell me it stinks like cigarettes most likely because they let people smoke inside. As for smelling like omelettes… shit, I dunno.

~Yelp review, Harrington’s Pub

Indoor smoking, toothless patrons, and “Michael Collins–the Lost Leader” posters lining the walls…Harrington’s is exactly what you would expect an Irish pub on the corner of Turk and Larkin to be.   But we were on a schedule, no time to dawdle…5 minutes and 18 Bud Lights later, we were back out on the street and moving.  We had gone less than two blocks when we ran into…red double decker tourist bus #3.  NOOOOOOO

Apparently the Tenderloin is a tourist hotspot.  Unfortunately (fortunately?) we were heading towards Market and 8th, an area that doesn’t have a whole lot of bars, so we couldn’t get to one immediately.  But within a few blocks we stumbled across…

Bar stop #3: Holiday Inn Hotel Bar, SOMA

I am not entirely sure this bar was meant to serve non-guests (we had to prop the bathroom door open with paper towels because none of us had a room key to open it), but the bar was deserted and the bartender, Mandy, loooooooved Molly, so whatever. After a little bit of confusion regarding orders, Mandy hooked us up with some beers (Molly and Eden got strawberries).  With a chug and quick mugging with Mandy, we were on our way.

Upon walking out the door, there was a collective gasp as…yes.   A FOURTH double decker tour bus drove by–our third bus in about 8 blocks.  Lucky for us, it was blue, not red.  Close call.

OK!   Through the scary parts of town and free of tour buses, we headed towards the I-80/ 101 underpass–Freeway Crossing #1.  Erickson did the favor of providing us with a plethora of Bubblicious flavors for the bubblegum rule.  I think we all underestimated exactly how wide the freeway is, because the only person who came close to making that goal was Erickson.  Carl also made a concerted effort, but everyone else gave up after a few tries.

With the failed gum freeway crossing attempt behind us, we were finally on our way to our next scheduled stop.

Sixth Stop: Ferg’s, Potrero Hill

For the final push of this stretch we had to make it up Potrero Hill, which is hard to do when you’re not 9 miles and 8+ cocktails deep.  But with some major effort the whole team made it to Ferg’s apartment where we were greeted by large bags of Doritos and some more Bud Light.  Just what the body needs after a strenuous climb.

We enjoyed the view, stretched, prepared ourselves for the next leg, which would also be relatively long, and headed out West and towards our…

Seventh Stop: Summer & Ryan’s, the Mission

Over Potrero Hill to the second freeway crossing (where Molly and I were the only two to even unsuccessfully attempt the three legged race….rules were slowly falling by the wayside) and through the Mission (aka Baconwrappedhotdogcartland) we went.  Chadeyne came across a liquor store that sold cutty bangs. In need of a refreshing beverage, most of us imbibed.  And almost barfed.

Another mile (and without bacon wrapped hot dog cart incident) later we arrived at Summer and Erickson’s, where Summer had been so kind as to order up some Papalote burritos, which were DELICIOUS and exactly what we needed to motor us around Twin Peaks, through our longest leg, and to our final destination…

Eighth and Final Stop: The Hesslers, Inner Sunset

At 3 miles, this was the longest leg of our trip and it definitely felt like it.  The sun started to set, the group started to spread out…but about an hour or so after leaving our
seventh stop WE ALL ARRIVED!

Though Chrissy had to work the whole day and was not able to join (a major bummer), she and Carl (who had joined us at Harrington’s) were kind enough to open up their home as the final stop.  Pizza, beer, and a beautifully decorated funfetti cake wrapped up our tour, where 7 of the original 8 hikers (plus an additional 10 or so hikers that were picked up along the way) celebrated victory…then went home and fell asleep by 9:30.

Finish time: 8:30pm, only 90 minutes behind schedule

Lessons learned: 14 miles goes by quick when you’re dodging red double decker tour buses

Flora and Fauna: the cutty bang

Hike #20: The Apartment Hike–First Installment

May 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

Location: San Francisco–all over

Distance: 13.7m

Entry fee: a good attitude

The purpose of this hike: make our way across the city hitting up the apartments of as many people as possible taking 30 minutes at each stop to eat, socialize, and imbibe (I don’t know if that qualifies as a “purpose”, but whatever.)  This turned out to be no small feat on a number of levels.  Not only did it require some serious thought in terms of route and timing, but its success also hinged on:

  • the willingness of a large number of people to invite 15+ (potentially intoxicated) sweaty hikers into their homes in the middle of the day and provide them with food and drink
  • another group willing to spend their Saturday wandering the freeway underpasses and trudging up Russian and Potrero Hill(s)

Not to sell my friends short, but I was blown away by the enthusiasm and number of people willing to hang out with toothless dudes in a pub in the Tenderloin in the middle of a sunny Saturday afternoon and make this hike awesome.  Because that’s what it was.

The final route:


  • No more than 30 minutes at each stop
  • Anytime a red double decker tourist bus passes by you have to run into the nearest bar and chug a beer
  • Anytime a Bay Quackers Bus passes by you have to run into the nearest bar and shoot the warmest garbage tequila on the dusty bottom shelf
  • At freeway crossing #1, everyone must have a fully inflated bubblegum bubble while crossing the freeway or you have to go back and start over
  • At freeway crossing #2, three legged race, losers have to walk the rest of the way tied together
  • and of course, if we pass a bacon wrapped hot dog cart you have to eat one (this one really stressed Ryan out)

With a start time of 10am and a strict 30-min-per-stop policy, we figured we should hit our final destination around 7pm.

First stop:  Peterson’s, the Tendernob

Coffee, mimosas, PBR, and donuts.  Breakfast of champions.  2 of the 8 hikers that joined us on the first leg showed up around 10:25, so we didn’t actually leave till about 10:40…10 min behind schedule before we even started walking.  Off to a good start.

Second stop: Michelle and Dave’s, Laurel Heights

Like, woah.  What a spread.

At the end of our first 2 mile stretch through Pacific Heights we found ourselves in front of a seriously delightful brunch that included quiche, bagels, muffins, mimosas, and bloody marys.  With garnishes.  We also got to hang out in the backyard area and picked up 3 more hikers.  But 30 minutes isn’t very long, and before you knew it we were stuffed full of quiche and on our way to…

Third Stop: The Dude’s, The Presidio

Upon leaving our second stop were still running about 10 minutes behind schedule.  The Dude got aggressive, took the lead, and announcing, “I think this is the right way” led us off the paved road and onto a narrow dirt trail into the woods…right through an enormous patch of poison oak.  (No symptoms yet, fingers crossed it stays that way.)

But the walk through the shrubbery may have all been worth it, because we arrived at the Dude’s place 5 MIN EARLY!

We got to work right away on the guac, chips, margaritas, and Pacificos that Eden had so nicely arranged, and played a little cornhole/bocci/horseshoes.  We also acquired 6 additional hikers at this stop.  While setting up the cornhole court we heard a shriek from Ryan at the side of the house who had just seen the first…red doubledecker tourbus chugging by.  Dilemma.  We hadn’t anticipated seeing one while INSIDE anyone’s apartment.  Appropriate response?  Finish the cornhole/bocci ball game ASAP and make it to the closest bar.  Which is exactly what we did.

So with cornhole champions crowned and about 15 people in tow we headed towards the Marina and to…

Bar stop #1: The Final Final, the Marina

Quickly downed 15 beers and some popcorn and, with a quick exit, headed up some not so small hills to Lombard, then down the crooked part of Lombard, through the tourists to…

Fourth stop: Tabby, Christian, and Colbie’s, Russian Hill

We arrived here tired and sweaty and ready for some…twinkies, hot dogs, and rednecks on vacation!  Wonderful.  Christian was downstairs brewing some beer and gave us a taste of his most recent brew, which was delicious and super alcoholic.  Win win.  We would have loved to stay here forever, but rules are rules.  30 minutes (and a blow of the whistle that Molly found) later and we were back out the street.

Before we could hit our next stop, one out of town hiker had to see/race up Filbert Street, which is supposedly not only the steepest street in San Francisco, but at 31.5%, one of the steepest streets in the whole Western Hemisphere.  Maybe we were on the wrong part of the street, but general consensus was that there are way steeper hills in the city.  Whatever.

ANYWAY, onward and upward (literally) to…

Fifth Stop: Molly’s, back in the Tendernob

This was one of the shorter legs of the hike and we celebrated at the end with Bud Lights, gossip mags, and bathroom breaks.  Amazing how fast 30 minutes can fly by.  But soon enough there was another toot of the whistle and we were out the door…

At a little over 6 miles we had already completed 5 of our 8 stops, but had done less than half the overall distance.  So far so good, but the serious hiking was about to start.

To be continued…

Hike #18: Twin Peaks (Urban Hike #6, part B)

March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Location: San Francisco, Cole Valley

Distance: 5.2 miles

Entry fee: $0

Following the completion of Urban Hike #6 Part A and another half hour wandering around Cole Valley,  we decided that since we could see Twin Peaks just fine from where we were standing…why not go there?

Twin Peaks is situated at the geographic center of San Francisco and is the second highest point in SF after Mount Davidson (which, I will admit, I had no idea existed.)  The Spanish name for the peaks was “Los Pechos de la Chocha”…or “Indian Woman Boobs” (I’m not even joking…though chocha has a different meaning today and sounds dangerously similar to another obscene word in Spanish.)   During the 1800s (when California became a part of the US)  it was renamed Twin Peaks.  The peaks each have their own names: Eureka Peak/North Peak (which is the one we hiked to the top of), and Noe Peak/South Peak.  As part of a 31 acre natural preserve, the peaks remain relatively undeveloped and is one of the few habitats that remains for a number of endangered species, including the Mission Blue butterfly (though we didn’t see any of them up there, unfortunately…they look cool.)

We weren’t entirely sure where we were going, so we just started walking towards the tower at the top of the hill…we wound around Upper Terrace to Piedmont, down Ashby and onto Clayton, where we started following the signs for Twin Peaks.  We made our way up the hill where, upon reaching the top, we traded shoes (Jen was getting blisters from her flip flops) and took in the amazing view. The top of the peak is usually pretty crowded with tourists and tour buses (since you can actually drive up to the top.)

The hike back down provided a few more awesome views of the East Bay, St. Ignatius, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hikes #17 & 18: An unexpected success!  Sometimes spontaneous hikes are the best

Lessons learned: don’t hike in flip flops; there are no bathrooms at the top of Twin Peaks

Flora and fauna: japanese tourists

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