cake and culture: hang-gliding over the Pacific

by Heguiberto on March 5, 2012

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It was a beautiful, chilly and hazy Sunday afternoon in San Francisco when we went to see the hang-gliding.

hang-gliding over the Pacific

We had just finished tending our community garden and felt that we still had some energy to enjoy doing some more outdoorsy stuff. Fort Funston immediately came to mind, and that’s where we headed. Neither of us had been there for quite some time, and we were ready.

gorgeous!

hang-glider airport

hang-glider airport

several gliders high up

several gliders high up

Fort Funston is part of the Golden Gate National Parks and it is located on the coast in the southwest part of San Francisco, bordering Daly City. I love the rugged coast of northern California and anything can be a pretext for a visit. Locally known as “dog’s heaven,” at least to us, pooches can walk off the leash in the park. It is amazing to watch them freely running around with so much joy. I hardly see any fights. In the past we brought Clarence with us but our Bully tires out so quickly, then gets obstinate and refuses to move further. It would be charming if it weren’t so disappointing, as we can never actually explore the park with the beast in tow. Sorry Clarence, this time was all about us.

The beach and dunes down below the cliffs are incredible, but I particularly wanted to find the spot where the hang-gliders take off. It was a perfect day for it as the wind was fierce. One of the gliders seemed to be training. He kept taking off and landing every five minutes or so for quite a while. It is so incredible and beautiful and a little scary to watch. They literally jump off the top of the cliff to launch. That’s got to be freaky! I truly admired them. I could never do that. I am a land animal through-and-through, and I’m adverse to heights.

ready to launch!

ready to launch!

up, up, and...

up, up, and...

...away!

...away!

hang-gliding over the Pacific

hang-gliding over the Pacific

hang-gliding over the Pacific (2)

hang-gliding over the Pacific (2)

hang-gliding over the Pacific (3)

hang-gliding over the Pacific (3)

hang-gliding over the Pacific (4)

hang-gliding over the Pacific (4)

Watching the gliders is amazing, but that pales to the stunning beauty of the surroundings. There’s always lots of birds, particularly large midnight black ravens. We were charmed by this one in particular that seemed to be practicing launching herself off the hang-gliding take-off area into the wind, just like the humans. So cute! I wonder if those hang-glider folk spend time studying those birds to learn some of their amazing maneuvers?

it's all about us

it's all about us

colorful Highway Ice Plant along the coast

colorful Highway Ice Plant along the coast

It isn’t all fun and games at the park. Fort Funston, like much of the California coast, is being taken over by “invading” plant species that were brought to the state mainly from abroad. The most obvious are the ubiquitous eucalyptus trees. Less noticeable, yet more pervasive is the Highway Ice Plant. We already knew about eucalyptus, but just learned about the Ice Plant. They’re all over the coast of California. They’re beautiful and provide a coat of green throughout the year. We had always assumed that they’re native as they look just like lots of other succulents and they do so well. But according to a sign at the park, they’re out-competing native plants and literally taking over all the land.

all of that low-lying green and red are Highway Ice Plants

all of that low-lying green and red are Highway Ice Plants

Coastal Dune Invasion

Coastal Dune Invasion

After we left Fort Funston we kept driving south towards Pacifica and happened upon a large and exciting Asian supermarket in Daly City, 99 Ranch Market. I was as enchanted with the food shopping as I was with Fort Funston itself. We bought a few kinds of citrus fruit, gai-lan, Chinese greens, a huge star fruit from Taiwan that weighed more than a pound (in Brazil they are so tiny!), canned mackerel, a number of staples and this huge purple taro root flavored katsutera cake. Shaped like a “Swiss roll,” this cake had a lovely color and tasted light as air: a perfect complement to an afternoon flying. Delicious!

purple taro roll from 99 Ranch Market

purple taro roll from 99 Ranch Market

mmmmmmmm!

mmmmmmmm, purple!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara March 5, 2012 at 9:07 am

I’m sure it’s beautiful, but it scares the hell out of me. I saw a video of one slamming into some rocks. That did it for me.
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Devaki @ weavethousandflavors March 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I am drooling at the sight of the beautiful california coast. And hand gliding – gorgeous! I wish I learned how..how it must feel to be free as a bird :)

Poor Clarence missed out though. Miss you guys & hope you are both well :)

chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
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beautydeleon March 7, 2012 at 2:44 am

I love to see people in gliding plane, but I’m not sure if I can do it! Gosh! I’m scared to death, don’t even want to imagine I’m into it!
Taro roll is one of my favorite dessert!

Magic of Spice March 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Such great photos! Interesting about the plant life, it does look native for sure, but a bit disturbing that it is not. Speaking off, I love the hand gliding, but yikes, doubt I could ever do it :)
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Kelsey87 March 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I like the purple cake looks delicious! and thanks for sharing this amazing photos with us. I will definitely visit this place someday and i will surely try this hang-gliding over the Pacific. Love extreme sports.
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