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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

San Francisco: 2 Days of Immersion

All Nicola wanted for her birthday was a sunset on the ocean. Living in Lake Tahoe, the best place I could think of, based on time and proximity, was Baker Beach in San Francisco.

We arrived during the golden hour, just in time to walk to the beach and experience the bedazzling colors cascading through the sky and reflecting on the surf and sand below. Even the local fishermen were mesmerized by the cosmic scene manifesting before us.

Baker Beach stretches a mile below the rugged cliffs of the Presidio's western shoreline. It's an ideal place for panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and Lands End.

Nicola wanted a sunset and the universe responded. This was the kind of sunset writers like Richard E. Byrd, William Blake, and Henry Miller live for. We could feel the power of the solar system behind this one, and it left us speechless.

Waves broke on shore caressing the sand with layers of orange, lavender, and liquid-gold. So intense was this sunset, even the sun itself marveled in its reflection in Baker Beach below.

"Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We gave gratitude for the spectacular show in our own private ways, then left the beach with a renewed sense of harmony and calm. That 30-minute experience alone was worth the 4-hour trip to San Francisco. But there was more inspiration calling us in the city.

After birthday cake and a good night's rest at the King George Hotel, we took the BART from Powell St. to the Mission District.

We walked by stunning murals, each leaping from the brick walls into our guts as if we needed this lift as much as the sunset the night before.

We were in the heart and soul of Clarion Alley, a haven for murals, where the entire neighborhood celebrates street art in every direction.

And if the sunset and street art wasn't enough to stimulate us, the nature around us kept us on our toes as well.

We walked by a tree in Dolores Park, for example, and it spoke to me.

Dolores Park is home of the oldest building, the iconic spire of San Francisco's Mission Dolores. And as we passed by, while I was snapping pictures of the city and the local historic buildings, I could hear a voice say, "Hey, what about me?"

I turned to Nicola and asked, "Did you hear that?"

She had not.

The face of this tree hadn't moved one iota, but looking at it, it was clear it had something to say. Wouldn't you agree?

And if the sunset, street art, and nature wasn't enough to stimulate us, the buildings around us made our heart's swell as well.

And just when we thought our guts and hearts were swimming in sensory overload - from the sunset, street art, nature, and buildings before us - we stepped into the world of Haight Street.

Famous for the hippie movement in the 1960's, Haight Ashbury was home of revolutionaries, cult leaders like the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. Artists such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono enjoyed this area as well for being a hotbed of creativity.

The vibe was real and undeniable. It circulated through the streets, the thrift stores, bookstores, bars, coffee shops, and restaurants. We could feel it.

Nicola and I got more than we expected. We arrived at Baker Beach around 5:30pm on February 19th, 2023, on Nicola's birthday.

All Nicola wanted was an ocean sunset.

Together, we experienced an epic sunset followed by mind-blowing street art, talking nature, Sin City-like buildings, and a time warp through the history of Haight Ashbury.

We left San Francisco around 3pm the next day, less than 24 hours after arriving, with sore feet and a revived sense of wonder and gratitude. A vividly colorful ride, historically and spiritually.


Hello! I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident. I’m a teacher, freelance writer, and photographer. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story. If you're interested in any photos in this post, or in my gallery: click here, let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email:

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