Marathon Urban Hike, #16

Headed out the first day of 2007 with two buddies- Kathy & Lauren– to do an awesome urban hike. First we had to meet Kathy at Polk & Sacramento. The idea was to walk there but we were getting short on time. So we walked up the steepest ever part of Russian Hill – to save time- and then lucked out on a cable car, that took us in the wrong direction. Great way to start! Luckily someone finally witnessed me getting on these for free…

When I first met Kathy a few years ago, we figured out pretty quickly that we both liked long walks, on the beach… wait, not that kinda walk… and that we both had a shared admiration for Adah, author of Stairway Walks of San Francisco. Admiration for her climbing skills, not necessarily her descriptive abilities. Ada’s the annoying third wheel, the one who makes weird comments- not remarking on a brilliantly green disgusting 60s monstrosity, but instead ” the metal spikes on the ledge of xx1 Henry Street. It is to keep pigeons away.” That’s banale Adah. Sometimes, she’s oddly artistic. Anyways, more on Adah later. So Kathy had figured out she needed to do stairwalk #16: Corona Heights.

Getting from Polk & Sacramento Royal Grounds to Corona Heights… we decided to go via Japantown, Alamo Square, then Lower Haight. I kept chanting “maintain elevation” over and over again and got teased for it. Basically, I’m a fan of … maintaining elevation. Kind of ridiculous since 3 miles into our hike, Adah had us walking down and up a hillside.

Japantown was fun- with our combined Chinese-character reading and Japanese language abilities were able to decipher signs like: “Polk Street”. Kathy proved to have an oddly in-depth knowledge off the Japantown Mall… hmmm. I sense a previous life spent hustling noodles. After Japantown we climbed a really beautiful pedestrian bridge- a new treat for Kathy and me, town residents though we are- and headed to the Six Sisters- Lauren had written a post about it on SF Metblogs– location of the beginning sequence of Full House…

OK stopped at a Walgreens, walked by my Very First SF Apartment twice, and sat for a really long time at Cafe Soleil. Taskmaster (Lauren) kept us going up the Waller hill to begin Adah’s stairfest.

I can’t think of anything at this point because I was probably overwhelmed with exertion. We finally hit my second and third apartments in SF, and decide to head to the Mission for a greasy enchilada. It’s harder than we think. Puerto Alegre is closed. We go to La Rondalla, but, despite walking by like 20 diners happily enjoying spicy saucy enchiladas, are informed that it’s closed. We’re told to walk to 28th and Mission for Los Panchos, but instead can only manage a block or so and decide to go muy auténtico. Manage to pass Cancun– I really, really didn’t want to go there- and found a Guatamalan place, Palacio Latina. It really pushed all of our abilities to order in Spanish since, yep, waitress didn’t speak English. Luckily, we had a rather fluent high school Spanish speaker with us (Kathy). She translated useful phrases like: “The shrimp fajitas will take 20 minutes, is that OK?” And, “No, there’s more than just shrimp in the fajitas- there’s also pork and beef” and “We are out of chicken.” Wow, why did I remember those sentences. Weird. Instant recall for ordering conversations and dinner plans. A new skil.

We rested our feet, ate, and got happy with these great fried plantain chocolate-bean desserts. Then, cab home to reheat the body.

7.6 miles. Dang! Pedometer map here.