Angel Island Hike

I've looked forward to visiting Angel Island since I took a class on Chinatowns in college and learned about the Chinese poetry carved into the walls of the detention hall at the US Immigration Station.  Finally, last weekend, we went in honor of Sushmita's birthday and it could not have been a more perfect day for the 5-mile, 3-hour hike up to the summit of Mt. Livermore.  Beautifully sunny and clear, except for a foggy portion of the ferry ride over.

The island has several microclimates ranging from what looks like rolling grassland to chaparral to dense forest.  When we turned the corner into the area where our ferry docked, it looked like something out of LOST, with the fog rolling up and over the mountain and dissipating into the bright October air, with greenery embracing the little jewel of a cove that housed several sailboats and a visitor center.
The hike itself wasn't too strenuous--Sushmita and I joke about how our style of hiking should really be called a "leisurely stroll through the woods," and we always take plenty of snacks and a picnic to have as a reward at the top.  Most of the trail led us through shaded forest on the east side of the island, and only the last bit took us to the area that suffered a fire not too long ago.

From the top, we could see a 360-degree view of the entire bay area, from the City, to the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge, Marin headlands, Tiburon, Richmond, and all of the east bay.  We had turkey sandwiches, cherry tomatoes, two kinds of cheese, fruit, brownies and--the best part--apple juice in the same juice boxes we had as kids.

On the way down, I was very careful and picked my way around rocks and things to avoid having my knee sublux like it does every once in a while.  From the bottom of the mountain, it was still quite a ways to the immigration station, but it was worth it because I finally got my picture of the poetry in the walls, barely visible after years and layers of paint.  All in all, a great day.