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Mission Mondays: Solo San Francisco – Part VIII

August 2, 2010

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in my posts yet but visiting all fifty-eight of the major National Parks is on my bucket list. So far I’ve only been to four but going to the Bay Area gives me the opportunity to add what many believe to be the crown jewel of all the National Parks: Yosemite. Could it—should it—be attempted?

In searching for advice about whether such an undertaking might be worthwhile, I came across this item on the Lonely Planet forums—two people visiting San Francisco wanting to take a day trip out to Yosemite. Some posters seemed to think it was a foolhardy idea while others, admitting openly that it would be a long day, thought it would certainly be doable.

After a lot of inner debate on the issue, I’ve decided that Yosemite will have to wait for another trip because:

  1. I’d have to rent a car for the day and spend a minimum of eight hours just to get out to Yosemite and back.
  2. If I’m going to go to Yosemite, I want to go to Yosemite, you know what I mean? Yosemite can’t just be a side trip. I want to be there to take it in. Summit Half Dome. See Ansel Adams’ old pianos at the Ahwahnee Hotel. Spend a few days, at least.
  3. There’s still so much to see and do in the Bay Area.

Instead, a colleague suggested I visit Muir Woods  named for the Scottish naturalist who revered the woods of Yosemite and whose passion for the outdoors played an integral part in the development of our National Park System (NPS). Only half an hour north of the city, Muir Woods National Monument is also a part of the NPS and houses one of the oldest stands of coastal redwoods, arboreal giants that rise to a height of 250 feet with trunks as wide as fourteen feet. A hike in Muir Woods should certainly satisfy my nature jones. I’ve also got other options for expeditions into nature at the Presidio and of course, Golden Gate Park.

To help me cope with all of the walking/hiking/exploring I’ll be doing, I’ve been looking for a back-saving travel sling/backpack. It’s got to be roomy enough to carry my camera and a light jacket/fleece (it can get down to 40 degrees in Muir Woods during the day and pretty cool on the Bay on the trip out to Alcatraz) with enough space left for lunch and other necessities. I’ve come across a few that might do the trick:

Eddie Bauer Sling Pack – retailing for $20, it’s small but the sling design is equally appealing for a not too rigorous hike in the woods or around the city.

Eddie Bauer's Sling Pack

TravelPro Everything Sling Bag – with modular interior padded compartments to accommodate a camera and accessories plus a waterproof cover, this little gem is selling for $39.95 at the Home Shopping Network.

Travel Pro's Everything Sling Bag

REI Nikole Day Bag – a true sling, at $49.50, it looks roomy, is easy on the wallet and easy on the eyes.

REI's Nikole Day Bag

Eagle Creek Hitch – this convertible shoulder bag/backpack seems like it’s the perfect size for my needs, but at $95 it puts a pinch in my pocketbook.

Eagle Creek's Hitch

Clik Elite Impulse Sling – made specifically for outdoor/adventure photographers and enthusiasts, this bag totally breaks the bank at $125 but oh so cool. Definitely an investment.

Clik Elite Impulse Sling

So many decisions, so little time. Only four weeks to go…

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