We started out by taking BART to Glen Park station (in San Francisco), where we bought fancy-dancy sandwiches at a snooty little store called Canyon Market on our walk over to Glen Canyon Park. We walked along the drought-depleted (but still beautiful) tree-lined creek, had lunch at a shady picnic table on a hill, then climbed the rather significant flight of stairs out of the canyon & walked to catch the bus to Ghirardelli Square. I found all the walking rather challenging (especially the seemingly endless, knee-torturing stairs that took us out of the canyon), but it was nice to get to hike again, since it's something I used to love doing & did often, but haven't done much in recent years. It was also neat that we got to explore both the forested canyon and the sunny, wildflower-dotted hillside above. It was all really beautiful & made me very happy.
Along our pleasant (though very hilly) walk to the bus stop, we happened upon the Upper Douglass Dog Park, where we went to hang out in the shade for a while. We love dog parks & this was a beautiful one where all the dogs & their owners seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Once we got to it, the bus was crowded & Shannon & I didn't get to sit together, but I always enjoy taking buses through San Francisco, just watching the neighborhoods go by & people-watching both the folk on the bus & those outside on the streets. Also, since I sat behind Shannon, I was in a position to notice that I need to give him another haircut. I don't usually spend a lot of time looking at the back of his head, and—to be frank—he doesn't have much hair in the front, so I hadn't previously noticed.
When we got to Ghirardelli Square, we bought far too much expensive (but excellent) chocolate (though we didn't eat any at that time, since our stomachs were still groaning under the weight of fancy-dancy sandwiches), then walked out to Aquatic Park & sat on the cement bleachers overlooking the man-made lagoon where several adults were bravely swimming in the no-doubt rather frigid water & a great many small children were splashing and squealing in the shallow waves on the beach. A lot of tourists were passing on the walkway along the water—at the foot of the bleachers—either walking or riding rented bikes—but the folks on the beach & on the bleachers seemed to be mostly unhurried locals out to enjoy a sunny day on the Bay. There was no crowding, no crush of anxiety to get to the next "sight"—which is what I usually identify with the Fisherman's Wharf area—just a few dozen happy people hanging out & enjoying the afternoon. It was lovely.
The weather was beautiful for our day of birthday adventure, so we ended up just relaxing contentedly on the bleachers for quite some time—maybe an hour or more—resting from our vigorous hike in Glen Canyon Park & in no rush to hurry off anywhere else. Shannon read to me from our current book (the third in Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy), which we've both been enjoying immensely, and we just generally people-watched and chatted and laughed and enjoyed each other's easy company.
I had only been able to eat half of my fancy-dancy Canyon Market sandwich ("House-made sourdough with roast turkey, applewood smoked bacon, sun-dried tomato spread, cheddar, and mayo. Served hot.") in the park & had been hoping I might find some homeless and/or hungry person who might like the other half, but hadn't found any likely human candidates ... but the bleachers were populated by a large number of hungry-looking seagulls, so I ended up putting out the remaining half of my sandwich on the steps. The first seagull on the scene scored big, gulping down all of the turkey in a couple of hurried swallows before the other birds had even figured out that anything interesting was happening. Then 5 or 6 others swooped in & excitedly partook of applewood smoked bacon, sun-dried tomato spread, and the rest. I'd estimate that the sandwich lasted about 10 seconds after I'd stepped away, leaving nary a crumb as evidence that it had ever existed.
For about 5 minutes afterward, various seagulls competed aggressively for the area where the sandwich had been located, as if wanting to make sure that they had no competition if more fancy-dancy sandwich should magically appear in the same spot, and Shannon amused me tremendously by "channelling" them, providing dialogue to accompany their antics ("Get out of here! This is MY sandwich place! I'm gonna hurt you, bitch!"), but eventually their little bird brains moved on to other matters & they all wandered away again.
I've had an aversion to seagulls ever since my year in Scotland, where I saw them ruthlessly swoop down to murder and devour almost all of the ducklings that were born on the university's loch. Every day, I would see the same mama ducks come waddling across the grass outside my dorm, each day with fewer and fewer babies. Each mama started out with a brood of 10 or so trailing obediently behind her, and each mama eventually ended up with only 1 or 2 lonely babes waddling behind her. I was horrified by the cannibalistic, monstrous, fluffy-duckling-murdering Scottish gulls ... but the Aquatic Park versions were quite entertaining when they swooped down to monstrously murder my sandwich today. Perhaps I have finally forgiven their race for crimes committed decades ago in a far-away country.
After we'd become all sun-limp and relaxed & had digested our sandwiches enough to get hungry again, we meandered down Fisherman's Wharf to a hole-in-the-wall fish-and-chips place called The Codmother, which I'd found on Yelp. The place doesn't even have indoor seating, but it was funky and cool. The menu was written on chalk boards & the seating was arranged under a couple of those big collapsible pavilions. We waited in line at the window of a little shack & placed our orders with the native Englishwoman who owns the place, who was very friendly and chatty. We each ordered the fish/shrimp/chips combo basket, little knowing that each order could easily have fed 3 people. Shannon and I, never having been there before, each ordered our own, and so we had enough leftovers to feed 3 people when we were done. It was all excellently tasty, though, so we didn't want to waste it & had them wrap it all up to go. I knew neither of us was likely to try to re-heat fried fish and chips at home, though, so I ended up giving it all to some possibly-homeless-but-certainly-apprecia
By the time we made it to BART, we were both feeling rather weary from the long day & mostly collapsed when we got home, but it was a great day, spanning many of the different delights of San Francisco: from the forested canyon at Glen Park to the wildflowers of the surrounding hills to the bus ride through the city to the Bay views at Aquatic Park to the funky little restaurant. It reminded me how much I love San Francisco & the wide variety of diverse things it has to offer.
It was the nicest day I've had in a very long time, due in large part to simply having several hours of Shannon's undivided attention & company. Adventures are nice; adventures with someone you love & love to spend time with are the best.