Today we visited the island of Alcatraz, which is also referred to as "The Rock". This will be our first time visit to the park.
Alcatraz is commonly known as a federal prison, but there is a lot more to see on the island. It started as a fort during the Civil War. Then later became a military institution and evolved into a federal prison. It was mainly a prison for trouble makers within the prison system. Thus it housed prisons with severe behavior issues. No one was ever executed in this facility. The prison was closed in 1963.
What I remember best about the background of the island was its occupation by Native Americans. A group of Native Americans occupied the island for 19-months. Their goal was to bring national awareness of Native American issues. I would like to learn if the occupation was considered a success.
Thereafter the buildings on the Rock were being considered to be demolished, but thanks to Congress the facilities were placed under the newly created Golden Gate National Recreational Area and consequently restored and preserved. The Recreational Area covers 80,000 acres near and around the city.
We ordered our boat ride tickets to travel to the island on-line before we started the trip. Their is no park entrance fee. I am sure we could not have gotten any ferry tickets if we tried to get them that same day. One has a set time to be ferried over to Alcatraz and one can return anytime before the park closes.
On the island, each visitor receives a headset to be able to conduct an individualized tour. There is an open area on the east side that provides and outstanding platform for taking outstanding and memorable pictures of the city and the surrounding areas.
After taking the boat back we got on the city bus and went to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. Trini and Rosemary went on to walk across the entire length of the bridge. They shared that their walk was great as they were going but, the return walk was challenging. They did not have an issue with the fog and wind. The problem was dodging the many bicyclists that zip by on their way home. They go quite fast and the pedestrians have to share the same narrow path.
As they were talking about the near misses with some of the cyclist, I was remembering an accident I had in Stockholm, Norway.
I walked out of a building and looked right before walking into the path that cyclist use. The issue was that I forgot to also look the other way. I walked into the path of a lady on her speeding bicycle. We collided and she flew off in one direction and I went in another. It was completely my fault. I can still see her face as it turned red and she shouted some words at me that seem to express her anger. I did my best to say that I was sorry. She got on her bike and dashed off. Throughout the day I felt a dull pain in my side from where the bike hit me. I am glad no one hurt and now I'll try to be extra careful when I see cyclist whisking by.
They returned from their walk across the beautiful bridge safe and sound.
It's unfortunate that so many people come to this very high bridge to jump off to commit suicide. Today's tour of the bridge was without any negative incident and we went on to enjoy other parts of this unique city.
From here were drove to the southern side of the city looking for the Twin Peaks area. I was not familiar with the location and it took us a while to find it. Once we reached the top I realized how beautiful the scenery was from here. It had a spectacular panoramic view of the entire city and across the bay. It was a lucky day since the fog only covered a portion of the Golden Gate Bridge and it was a completely clear sky everywhere else. It is well worth the trip to come up to this overview spot.
Tomorrow will be our last day in the area and we are planning to drive north of the city and visit Point Reyes National Seashore.