Don't know why but for some reason these photos got shelved somewhere in the back of post-city. I guess that's not so odd since I'm all film these days (hence the constant "last week" or "a couple Sundays ago" that inevitably begin these posts), but in a way its kind of fun as we now get to relive the adventure just when it'd begun to seem like ages ago. ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Took the ferry over to Angel Island as part of the birthday festivities in June. I'd never been before and managed to get a Sunday night camping spot, which was actually kind of amazing considering it was a relatively last minute decision and that place books up like a cathouse on Valentines Day. Or something to that effect. Loaded up the bikes and got everybody up and onto the 11:30 ferry, no small feat post Saturday night.
Little baby seagulls were checking us out.
Bloody Mary's helped cut the fog.
Finally went to Alcatraz! Not this trip, though, we'll have to save those photos for another time.
Got into Ayala Cove to find the weather ever so much nicer than back at home. I love it when things work out that way.
Pedaled up the hill and down a windy dirt path to Reynolds Camp. Since its a group camp, its down in a little valley all by itself with only one other site way back up the hill. I'd almost forgotten how great it is to have a spot all to yourselves.
Franks promptly cracked into his 4 ounces of freedom.
As usual hi-jinks ensued.
Clambered down to the beach and lolled around in the sun, poking dead jellyfish and waving at seals.
Caught up with the rest of the gang who'd taken a later ferry, then started off on a perimeter tour of the island.
So many deer.
Great views of the socked-in city.
The best part of the island (aside from all the nature) is the leftover barracks and military buildings. Its all just there for the exploring and when the last ferries leave there's really no one else around. I think we saw two other people the whole 3 hours we spent walking around and neither was a ranger.
Once upon a time huge guns sat here protecting the entrance to the bay.
Poked our noses around the old missile silos but everything was locked up tight. Found a small hole and climbed in it just so it wouldn't be a total loss.
Much better luck was had at the old hospital.
Attics are always creepy. Reminded me of the time a couple of us made it into the old mental hospital on Lake Street. That was a really weird one.
Circumnavigated the 7 miles of island and got back to camp before the sun hit the water. Such a great little camp, there were 9 of us and no one had to set up their tent in the bushes.
Dinner time. The only drawback to camping on the Island is the no fires rule. Got around it by piling up some wood on the grill after meats were done making a nice little hobo warmer. Whiskey helps as well.
Slow morning breakfast then packed things up and rolled back down to the cove for coffee and more napping on the grass. Funny how often we have to recover from vacations.
Back on the afternoon ferry and home we go.
Where's the rest? Right, so I left out all the fascinating historical bits, but Angel Island is in fact full of them. It first became a part of the U.S. in 1848 (it'd previously belonged to Mexico) and was fitted with artilleries during the Civil War in case the Confederacy decided to attack from the coast. This military presence continued up through WWII with the addition of an immigration station around 1910 that became know as the "Ellis Island of the west". As the name might imply, things were a great deal less than pleasant, compounded by the fact that most immigrants were coming through from Asia at a time of incredible anti-Chinese sentiment. Families were separated, interrogated and often held for as long as six months while officials tried to find out if their papers were legitimate (a feat most likely never actually accomplished). All in all not a pretty chapter for such a lovely island. Still its what may have saved the whole place, as the station was abandoned by the late 40's and slated for demolition in the 1970 (the military having pulled out after the Cold War), when a park ranger found poetry painted on the walls inside the detention barracks and championed the cause to restore the station for the public. And so they did. We were too busy doing the camping thing to check out the museum, but I'm pretty sure its got to be amazing and there are a whole bunch of informational programs on and about the island (plus you can volunteer over there!) Its definitely worth a visit, even if just for the day, and the ferries run pretty regularly throughout the day. There's a little cafe (and oyster bar) at Ayala Cove but picnic areas abound and I think you can reserve grills as well. Camping reservations can be made through Reserve America and if you find one, grab it, there's only 11 of them on the whole island.