Sixty Thousand Steps

Batteries to Bluffs Trail

As you might have read, it was one of my new year’s resolutions to walk 60,000 steps in one day. In December 2012 Chris and I had managed to walk 45,000 somewhat unintentionally. At the end of the night our feet hurt, we were whiney, and didn’t want to want anymore, but if we could make it 45,000 – why not 50? why not buck-up and attempt 60? I had a taste of glory and I wanted it all.

Fitbit gives you a badge every 5,000 steps you accomplish in a day. Which is why my goal was step, not mile, related. Turns out 60,000 steps is over 26 miles – the length of a marathon. We planned our 26 mile journey the night before by plugging coordinates into Google Maps. Our proposed route seemed tough, but doable and fun. Chris agreed to come only under the condition that we had at least 3 long breaks at delicious restaurants. We were nervous that either time or pain would be against us, so we left the house at 9 (super early for us on a weekend) and gave ourselves multiple outs to get back home.

We started our journey down Irving. Our first break was at Uncle Benny’s Donut & Bagel Shop (between 21st & 22nd Ave) to load up on some carbs. We both got bagel sandwiches and split a small donut. The donuts looked too good to not get one. From there we walked north into Golden Gate Park.

Golden Gate Park

We walked around the soccer field, and past the fly fishing ponds. We tried to say good morning to the bison, but we couldn’t seem find them anywhere on the paddock.

Fly Fishing Pond

We exited the park through the northwest corner and continued straight onto the Ocean Beach boardwalk. It was a beautiful day and lots of dogs were running on the beach.

Dogs on Ocean Beach

We snapped a few pics from The Cliff House and continued up Point Lobos Ave to the new Lands End Lookout and Sutro Baths. On our normal walking days, Sutro Baths is usually a good stopping point. Leaving here and returning home would get us 20,000 steps easy, but we weren’t looking for 20,000 – not today.

Lands End Lookout

Sutro Baths

Also common for our walks, especially when showing friends around, would be to leave Sutro Baths and enter the the Land’s End Trail. Usually we would take it up the Eagle’s Point Labyrinth and then start our journey back home through Legion of Honor, but not today. For the first time we continued on the Land’s End Trail until it spit us out on El Camino Del Mar, the road that goes through one of the most rich and fabulous neighborhoods in SF – Seacliff.

Lands End Trail

Seacliff Mansion (with weird horse statue)

We continued on Sea Cliff Ave until a hunch lead us down 25th where the trail continued down to Baker Beach. (Side note: that really should be labeled better, I’m looking at you SF Parks & Rec.) There weren’t any huge mounds of seafoam this time, but there were nudes! Or, as I like to call them, ‘nudies’.

Nudies!

Chris successfully suppressed the urge to go out on the potentially lethal rocks, and we continued on our way up the massive sand hill to Lincoln Blvd. Unfortunately Lincoln Blvd is full of fast cars and isn’t exactly walker friendly, so we stayed on the trails and ended up at Battery Crosby (similar to our last journey to Baker Beach). Chris’s legs were tired at this point, so we took a small break before engaging on the rough Batteries to Bluffs Trail.

The view from Battery Crosby.

The Batteries to Bluffs Trail is officially my favorite trail in the city. It spans the short length between Baker Beach and Golden Gate Bridge, but the trail is long, windy and steep. You’re constantly going up and down bluffs to find secluded beaches and peaks with amazing views.

We can do it!

Marshall’s Beach

Chris checking out the Serpentine rock.

We took a short break at Eagle’s Point because there was a bench… and those start to look really good around 10 miles. Afterward we played around in Battery Godfrey and Battery Boutelle before going on the new walking path under the bridge.

The new biking/walking path.

They’ve really fixed up the entranced to the Golden Gate! Chris and I hadn’t been there in awhile and it’s looking pretty spiffy. There’s a new, real roadway for bikers to loop around under the bridge to the bike path, a refreshment and tourist center (separate from the gift shop), and cool demonstrative models of the bridge littered around the area. While crossing the bridge we saw dolphins! So cute.

The weather couldn’t have been better.

Once we crossed the bridge on the pedestrian side, we looped under the bridge again to hang with the bikers. Our next stop was Sausalito, but we had only biked & drove there before. The road we were used to taking is pretty dangerous for walkers – with it’s fast cars, tourist bikers, and no sidewalks. Fortunately we found a new trail; there was a trail sign labeled “Sausalito 3 mi.” that pointed south and we followed it.

Really neat rock formations.

Cavallo Point Lodge

We passed the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Cavallo Point Lodge, and the walk down East Rd towards Sausalito was possibly the most brutal part of the excursion. We were walking on the hard concrete, fast cars to our left, and vegetation to our right with no beautiful views in sight. My feet hurt.

Entering Sausalito.

Sausalito

When we finally arrived in Sausalito we were beyond hungry. Chris had planned for us to eat at this amazing hole-in-the wall hamburger place, but as we approached it’s massive line with the promise of standing for the unforeseeable future drove me to rage. We ended up going to the classy Mexican place next door, where we were seated immediately, the food was good, and I was the happiest to have a chair I think I’ve ever been in my life.

We hadn’t looked at our Fitbits since we left the house that morning. With anticipation we took them off, counted down, pressed the button, and our faces dropped at the same time. Only 43,000 steps?! That means I needed 17,000 more and my feet were already killing me. Our extended plan was for us to walk to Tiburon, which would easily get us the steps we needed. A quick look at the clock revealed we wouldn’t make it to Tiburon in time to make the last ferry for the day. Our manageable plan, and the one we ended up doing, was to take the ferry back from Sausalito to The Ferry Building. Chris and I spent the half an hour on the ferry napping.

Our ferry docked, we stretched, and began on our journey up Market to Dinosaurs – our favorite Bahn Mi place at 16th. When we got there sitting felt amazing, but we weren’t that hungry. We tried our best to eat the sandwiches and pondered how we would get our last 12,000 steps.

Bahn Mi

We made it home with 9,000 steps still unaccounted for. Our first logical conclusion was to do some errands. So we wrote up our shopping list, took the longest possible route to get there and back, and were pleased as punch when we arrived home to find we only needed 5,000 more steps.

Why don’t we go get some frozen yogurt at Next Door Sweets? I suggested. Chris, who had already fallen on the couch, mumbled in agreement and off we went. On our way our our conversation had degraded into screaming nouns we saw – pizza! burrito! In our delirious state we came up with an amazing idea for a pizza wrapped like a burrito, rolled in cheeto flavoring. We call it a ‘Pacheeto’ and the rest of the walk was spent singing a song about it.

Back outside of our apartment we only had 800 steps left. I couldn’t even feel my feet anymore. My knees were in pain and my hips were starting to go. I was having unpleasant hot flashes and all I wanted to do was face plant on the couch. It was brutal. We shuffled, unable to walk, over to Kezar Stadium where the bouncy track would seem like pillows on our feet. It was 9:30, we had been walking for 12 hours, when we finally hit 60,000 steps we hugged and immediately headed home. Chris passed out on the couch while I stretched, attempting to lessen tomorrow’s residual pain.

We did it!

Even though it was brutal, I can’t even begin to explain the feeling of accomplishment. Never relating to the term ‘sporty’ in my life, I finally understand why people run marathons. Would I do it again? Hell yes. Same route? Hell no. Next time I’d like to go somewhere totally new, possibly far away from here. Knowing where you’re going is a blessing and a curse. It’s reliable – you know exactly how many steps you will get, however mundane – without anything new or interesting to be distracted by. The best parts of our 60,000 step walk were the trails and roads we had never been on (with the exception of East Rd in Sausalito – fuck that road.) Even more titillating, we almost successfully completed JFK’s 50 Mile Challenge that weekend. The combination of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s steps got us to about 45 miles. New goal? You betcha.

Linzi

P.S. Friend me on Fitbit!

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