For those of you that don’t know, I was hit by a car about 4 months ago. This means that most of my outdoor adventures have been temporarily put on hold while my (many) bones heal. Luckily, however, there are a few spots even someone on a crutch can access…if you can get a ride to them.
One of the most accessible places I’ve found is Fort Funston. It’s an off-leash dog park that runs along the Pacific Ocean at the southwest edge of the city. This, of course, also makes my dog, Maybe, very, very happy. On a weekend day you’ll easily see 200 dogs romping about, digging in the sand and chasing each other through the waves. Sadly I haven’t been able to get down to the beach itself, as the only way down is a 200-foot, rather steep hill of sand (which is not very crutch-friendly). But at the top of the hill you’ll find some of the best views in the city. Look left or right down the coast, turn around and look out over the hills of SF, or just sit and take in the Pacific Ocean sprawled out in front of you. There are also plenty of walkways and dunes to explore up there, so Maybe is more than satisfied.
One of the best parts about Fort Funston is that it’s huge. The trails loop around further than you expect; around each corner there’s another fork in the road, each furnished with water fountains for humans and dogs alike.
Fort Funston is not just a dog park, however, it’s also a great spot for hang gliding. It’s a Hang-III site, which is “intermediate” to us land-folk. The best gliding times of the year are in March and October (according to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy), and there is even a wheelchair-accessible viewing deck. You’ll also see lots of kites and remote-control airplanes, so this is seriously not the time to forget to look up.
Everywhere you walk there are hidden are pieces of art, well-maintained trails, beautiful stretches of beach and flourishing foliage. You can almost completely miss the fact that it’s all surrounding an old military fort (which you can also explore parts of).
Lastly, my friends, if you have gotten this far, perhaps you will stay for the sunset. I promise it’s one you’ll never forget. My only warning: beware the windy day, as the sand in your eyes might make the ocean views a bit painful.