Baths, Spires and Organs – adventures along the San Francisco coast

The Sutro Bath Ruins

The Sutro Bath Ruins

I’m fairly sure that the headline sounds a great deal saucier than the report below. Still, fun was had!

The ruins of the old Sutro Baths, built back in the late 19th century, once housed a large quantity of swimming pools that the well heeled gentry of the city frequented back in the day. It’s a rather large site, and looking down from the parking lot, you get a good idea how enormous this facility once was in its heyday. There’s a long bike path down to the ruins, as well as a very taxing looking collection of stairs down from the overlook to the ruins and beach beyond.

Apparently, during high tide, waves would recycle two million gallons of water throughout the facility in about an hour. A rather large pool of seawater remains, still held within the walls that still remain. The visitor’s center provides glimpses of the baths in all their resplendent glory. Housed within, the center are the collected relics and paintings from back when the baths were still operational, as well as a large selection of books about the area.

There really was no way that I’d have had the energy to make it all the way down to the ruins and back up without having to zonk entirely out the next day, so I think I’ll try my hand at it next time I find myself in the city. For this visit, I had to satisfy myself with pictures from high above.

(Other Sutro Bath pics here)

From there, me and my friend headed on to our next destination.

The Wave Organ

The Wave Organ

At the end of a jetty, out in the San Francisco bay, so close to the Golden Gate Yacht Club that you could spit on it, lies a magnificent acoustic sculpture. From what I’ve read, the jetty itself is comprised of materials from a demolished cemetery, and a portion of the installation actually looks like old ruins that have started crumbling and falling into the sea.

It’s a really fantastic place.

25 organ pipes constructed out of PVC and concrete poke out at multiple points throughout the structure, their long concrete tubes snaking out into the water and along the rocks. Placing an ear up to one of them, you can hear the music of the waves as the water hits the ends of the pipes and sloshes around inside them as the tide comes in. Apparently, the best time to visit is high tide – it’s when the pipes sound the best.

From this location, you can also get a decent view of Alcatraz.

Mysterious Spire across from Inspiration Point in the Presidio

Mysterious Spire across from Inspiration Point in the Presidio

Parking for the Wave Organ is kind of a pain in the butt – we parked at The Marina Green park, then had to walk all the way down, past the boat slips, then around in a U to get to the jetty itself. It’s not really an arduous walk, but after I’d already spent a lot of the weekend walking around, my poor feet were pretty argumentative with me when we finally got back to the car. ENTIRELY worth the trip, though. My friend and I agreed that it would be a spectacular place to take a first date.

(other Wave Organ pics)

On the way back home (well, where home is THIS week 🙂 ) we drove by Inspiration Point in the Presidio, and came across this mysterious spire up on a hill. It was so intriguing, that we pulled over to the vista point, then walked across the two lane road, then up the hill to check it out. There weren’t any memorial placards or anything, but the tree trunks were definitely placed there deliberately. I’m both mystified and really pleased to see something so beautiful, and inexplicable.

All in all? Great way to spend Labor Day weekend.

(more pics of the spire here)

2 thoughts on “Baths, Spires and Organs – adventures along the San Francisco coast

  1. Pingback: Baths, Spires and Organs – adventures along the San Francisco coast | Jhada Addams - Superhero at Large

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