San Bruno Mountain State Park

Linzi's Birthday Hike

Linzi’s 27th Birthday Hike by Allison McCarthy

Last year’s birthday hiking adventure was so successful, that for my 27th birthday we drove to South San Francisco to conquer my last large San Francisco park – San Bruno Mountain State Park!

Chris planned the entire day perfectly. We woke up early, stopped at The Mill for coffee and picked up the badass fun mobile (aka mini-van). Our first destination was a secret and when we turned on Meghan’s street I was pumped. CAKE & PIE POPS! But what of remained a mystery. We brought the sealed white boxes home and left for the airport to pick up Laura and Sean! They stopped in SF for my birthday party before jetting off to Palm Springs for a much needed “tropical” vacation from both rainy Portland and wedding planning. Thanks guys for making the trip! It really meant a lot to me!

Sean misbehaving

Sean Misbehaving by Christopher Berry

We returned to the city to pick up Janine, Allison and Sam before driving south again and to pick up our BYO sandwiches. I had read on Yelp that a sandwich stop called Miss Tomato in Daly City was cheap and had a large variety of delicious options. The 7 of us arrived at a small convenience store named literally “A General Store” and overwhelmed poor Miss Tomato (not her real name, but it will work). She was the only one running the shop and it took her about 10 minutes to make 1 sandwich. As the line grew around the store we put in our orders and spent much of our time trying to find the weirdest items you could buy. Allison won when she found ‘Porn Star Shots‘. As we left Miss Tomato, Iris, Whitney, and Eric came in. We wished them luck.

Linzi's Birthday Hike

Picnic by Allison McCarthy

We made it to the San Bruno Mountain Park entrance about half an hour late and were greeted by Nikki, Joe, Alex, and Laura. Trevor and Camille (and their baby Hattie) had already claimed two tables in the shade. I set up a table with the snacks, balloon corgi, and secret treats Chris had ordered from Sweet Lauren Cakes – which turned out to be Ice Cream Cone Cake Pops! :D

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cones by Sweet Lauren Cakes

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cones by Sweet Lauren Cakes by Christopher Berry

He had given them a picture of my tattoo for them to emulate in cake and they did an AMAZING job!


Tattoo Pop Comparison by Alex Pytlarz

After we were full of sandwiches and cake pops, we started on the Summit Loop Trail. I had picked this trail after reading it’s write-up on Bay Area Hiker:

“Summit Loop Trail climbs easily on a well-graded path to the ridge line, and then drops back to the trailhead, about a 3.5 -mile circuit. Along the way, the trail runs along a creek, ascends through chaparral, and provides excellent views of downtown San Francisco, the East Bay hills, and the Santa Cruz Mountains from the ridge. The spring wildflowers are outstanding; lots of variety and something blooming just about everywhere. Nice any time, but best in spring.”

– Bay Area Hiker

The hike was labeled as “easy” with only about 650 feet in elevation change, which I had hoped meant everyone would be able to do it. We couldn’t have picked a better day. It was a beautiful with temperatures in the low 80s. Once everyone was lathered in sun screen, we were ready to go!

Linzi's Birthday Hike

Linzi’s Birthday Hike by Allison McCarthy

The hike started and ended in trees and tall grass, which quickly parted as we started our slow accent on the mountain.


Untitled by Alex Pytlarz

Our first epic view was of West Portal, Inner Sunset – all the way to the western side of the Marin Headlands. Our second was of downtown San Francisco.

Linzi's Birthday Hike

Linzi’s Birthday Hike by Allison McCarthy

To the east of San Bruno Mountain we could see Brisbane. I would like to return someday soon to hike the Ridge Trail, which takes you 3 miles east and right on top of the infamous “South San Francisco The Industrial City” sign. According to some friends if you bring cardboard you can slide down the letters. Sounds fun!


Brisbane by Christopher Berry

Linzi's Birthday Hike

Group Shot by Allison McCarthy

After the group shot we unintentionally split into 3 groups: the fast walkers, the general hikers, and the photographers. The fast walkers were always a few paces ahead of everyone, while the photographers hung back and took time to capture the natural beauty around us. If I had remembered my camera I may have been in the latter group, but unfortunately I remembered the camera and not the battery (doh!) so I was in the former. Thankfully Alex, Allison and Chris are excellent photographers and captured some great shots of the group traveling along.


The towers we’ve seen from the city by Christopher Berry


The Southern Side by Alex Pytlarz

From the southern side of the mountain you could see thousands upon thousands of grave stones in multiple, large cemeteries. The silent city of Colma has more dead than alive. We followed the ridge to the east until it snaked it’s way north and then east again. Facing north we could see cute little houses on the hillside, blocking our view of West Portal.

Hillside Houses

Hillside Houses by Christopher Berry

We slowly descended back into the high grass and trees.


Hikers! by Christopher Berry

Immediately after this photo was taken, Janine almost stepped on a snake. At first I thought she was really brave to be so close, but soon realized that she had not seen it. The resulting screaming and flailing was the cause for much laughter after the snake had slithered into the high grass.

We celebrated a successful loop, with no snake related deaths, back at the picnic area with some brews and tanning in the sun. Trevor and Camille were already back from their journey on the Saddle Loop Trail and had, once again, saved our tables. Thanks guys!

Hiker Ladies

Hiker Ladies by Christopher Berry

After enjoying a few beers, the car tribes went their separate ways. Trevor, Camille, and Hattie left for some well-deserved nap time. Eric, Whitney and Iris left for home. Nikki, Joe, Alex, and Laura regrettably went to Chili’s – ha! And our fun-mobile stayed at the park for one final, small hike. I didn’t know when I would return so I wanted to see at least a little of the Saddle Loop Trail. We took the shortcut to the vista on the left side of the picnic area. The trail was a fire road, mostly concrete with high grass and trees on either side until we arrived at the edge.


Untitled by Christopher Berry

Group Shot!

Group Shot! by Christopher Berry

After driving everyone home Sean, Laura, Chris, and I took a short break before heading out to Jamber Wine Pub for celebratory dinner and drinks. Alex and Laura met us later and we played a few games of Uno into the night. When we were finally exhausted from hiking and drinking we ordered an Uber Escalade to bring us home. We ended the day how we started it – in style.

'Princess Linzi's Family' drawn by Laura Chan

Princess Linzi’s Family drawn by Laura Chan

Thank you to everyone who attended my birthday party! A special thanks to Chris for planning everything! You’re the best! I love you all!