San Francisco: Golden Gate Park

7:53. Friday the 13th. Have French Toast at Lori’s Diner because I couldn’t resist the name. Take bus #38 along Geary St. toward the Golden Gate Park. I get the street names mixed up (because I want to get off at Park Presidio Blvd, but get off at Presidio/Mason instead). So I walk by the University of San Francisco and at 10:AM enter the park at the northeast corner, at Fulton and Stanyon St. Almost immediately I’m plunged into a completely different and more congenial world.

photo: Golden Gate Park

I must really be a country person, not a city person. At first I’m reminded of Tatton Park, but in the Golden Gate Park the wider paths meander as if they were not laid by man, and there are many smaller paths, almost rabbit paths, which snake deep into the dark and magic forests of plants. I walked fifteen minutes and saw only two people. (According to their websites, Tatton Park is 1000 acres and the Golden Gate Park is 1017 acres, but it seems much, much larger.)

At first I walked along English-style lawns bordered by huge trees. Then I entered a forest of ferns. And finally I found one of the sites I’d come to see, the Conservatory of Flowers. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation.

photo: Golden Gate Park

Although the Golden Gate Park seems like a special preserve of nature, it is actually a man-made construct. Formerly covered by sand dunes, it was completely transformed by John McLaren, an assistant gardener in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Edinburgh, who came to San Francisco in 1870.

photo: Golden Gate Park

One Response to “San Francisco: Golden Gate Park”

  1. Margaret Responds:

    My visit to San Francisco was in winter. I envy you your trip in summertime. I wonder whether you are comparing the gardens at Tatton with the Golden Gate Park rather than the whole of the Tatton parkland much of which is open land for the deer herds.

    Yes, I should have been more clear. The garden proper in Tatton is only a fraction of the whole. The Golden Gate Park is completely open to the public, so there is a lot more of it to wander. But I don’t think that’s the only reason it seems larger, because I only wandered through a small section of it. Tatton has broad avenues and square garden rooms. The smaller paths in the Golden Gate Park meander in and out of groves and up and down hills. I kept losing myself, in the most pleasant way. At Tatton, you never feel far from civilization. — mss

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