Dog stalking deluxe: Fort Funston

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which gives me just another reason plus an extra day to get out of the house and soak in as much sunlight as I possibly can. This time without my hiking partner in crime, I was going for the southern part of San Francisco, an area that I had not been before.

Lucky me that the sun decided to come out after a somewhat cloudy morning and I really didn’t need that extra jacket I packed. I had looked up the route the night before and armed with my guidebook, lots of water, a few bananas and some nuts, I started my little adventure. Which in this case means getting on a 1h bus ride to Lake Merced.

Lake Merced actually consists of three lakes, which once upon a time were periodically connected to the Pacific ocean. Over the years they got cut off by the sand dunes and seem now pretty popular for rowing. My route lead me around the western shore of the lakes, along Skyline Blvd. This pretty busy road definitely made the lake less enjoyable, there may be better ways around.

I eventually head west into the sand dunes toward Fort Funston and this is where the fun begins. I read a little bit about it and one thing that kept coming up is that Fort Funston is a popular destination for dog owners and their puppies. Part of me thought they were exaggerating, the other and definitely bigger part of me desperately wanted to find out if this was true. I can report back: yes, it is true and no, they were not exaggerating. So. Many. Dogs. Must be heaven. Big dogs, small dogs, young ones, old ones… every dog you could possibly imagine. My favorites: two Bernese Mountain dogs, one of them being less than a year old. And the giant poodle, which seemed a little misplaced here, but had the time of his life rolling in the sand. I kinda wanted to join him.

I’m finding my way further through the sand dunes, which is not always easy. The sand dunes are continuously moving and don’t really care about the trail, so they just bury it under tons of sand. Tons of sand is also what I had in my shoes afterwards. From the dunes, you can walk all the way down to the water, but beware, you gotta make your way all the way up again. Walking uphill in sand definitely gets your butt in shape. But all of this is so very worth it, because you get some beautiful views of the SF shorelines. I guess these views are only topped by the ones the hang gliders get from above. Fort Funston is a popular place for them and watching them is both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. I don’t think I could do it.

This was supposed to be my workout for today, but for some reason, I didn’t have enough. On my way back, I headed towards Ocean Beach, which I had initially planned to do from the dunes. Since part of the beach was blocked by the tides, I needed to do a little detour, passing San Francisco Zoo.

Front row to Ocean Beach

Beautiful as always, I walked it all: from the south end of Ocean Beach all the way up to Cliff House. And further. Since I was already “almost” there, I also checked out the Lincoln Steps, one of the many beautifully tiled stairways in San Francisco.

Steps with a message: educate, encourage and empower girls

My activity tracker now attests me a whopping 19,20 km and nearly 29.000 steps. I decide that I definitely have made up for last week now and treat myself to the bus home. No more walking for me today, but once more I’m grateful to be living in such a beautiful city and having two healthy legs that get me to all these gorgeous places. I couldn’t ask for more.