Expedition 37: The Presidio of San Francisco

June 12, 2024.

I started by visiting two of the four Andy Goldsworthy pieces in the park, Wood Line and the Spire. The Wood Line is a 1,000 foot + snaking S curve of tree trunks that’s very hard to photograph well in dappled sunlight! You’ll have to look it up online. 

I visited it shortly after it was installed in 2011. I remember reading that Goldsworthy took his time finding trunks that had the same diameter and flowed well to create a seamless curve. Like most of his art, it was designed to disappear back into the earth and I was happy to see that’s happening. The trunks aren’t as well aligned as they once were. Critters are eating them from within and weather is messing with them. 

The Spire was partially burned in 2020 and arson is suspected. 🙁 But it’s still standing. I almost like it more now, the way its shiny black surface glints in the sun. I would have visited Tree Fall, inside the Powder Magazine, but it’s currently closed. That squat little building has four foot thick walls so if any of the ammunition stored inside exploded, it would go up through the roof, somewhat safer than exploding sideways, I guess. 

I hiked down to El Polin spring and then back up to have delicious shrimp ceviche at the Cafe RX. I saw this place on the map. It’s hidden inside a building so you’d never notice it walking past it. Delightful. 

One reason I went to the Presidio is that I mentioned in the last expedition that only three cemeteries remain in San Francisco and two are here. The National Cemetery was established in 1884 although at least one burial occurred in 1854. Most gravestones are a uniform size and just give the vet’s name and service branch. Those interred include Civil War vets, some guy (not THAT guy) named Washington Irving and a Union spy named Pauline Fryer. 

Under the freeway lies the Pet Cemetery. Here you can pay your respects to the dearly departed Blinky, Louise, Dash, Schmelly and many more. So adorable! 

Battery Slaughter is one of four recently renovated and viewable to the public in the past few years (part of the project that created the fabulous Tunnel Tops area). I liked this one in particular because the multi-planed geometry reminds me of the Ziggurat of Ur (also of Michael Heizer’s City). 

I ended my expedition at the Golden Gate Bridge visitor center. I did not buy the Alcatraz commemorative spoon, but I did buy the bridge themed little bag.

1 thought on “Expedition 37: The Presidio of San Francisco”

  1. Pingback: Expedition 40: Breezy San Bruno – Claire Tompkins Art

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