Finding Beauty Series – The Bridge and the Bay

I live near an icon that visitors from across the world come to see, the Golden Gate Bridge. A place that’s packed with cars, bikes, and tourists on foot, it wouldn’t typically be a destination. But these are not typical times. I took advantage of the emptiness for a walk combining nature and history, strolling along the approach beside the spring flowers and eventually on to the structure 220 feet above San Francisco Bay.

Like many others, I am sentimental about the big orange bridge created in the 1930s, as much a work of art as a utilitarian structure.

Ingot symmetry

The base of the north tower

The north tower

The expansive views at eye level include the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz Island, and the Pacific Ocean meeting the horizon. On this day, I was interested in what I could notice looking up and looking down.

The afternoon light created a giant shadow, a still silhouette on the waves moving below. Standing in one place, I watched the water to see what would pass beneath me. A flock of cormorants. A small group of brown pelicans. A single gull that I managed to photograph.

A gull in the shadow

Four sea lions swam below. They surfaced and dove and surfaced again, their gracefulness amplified by watching them from above.

My best shot from 220+ feet above this fast-moving sea lion, its head underwater

Below the north end of the bridge is the ancestral land of the Huimen group of the Coast Miwok people. Today, Lime Point is the site of a lighthouse and foghorn dating back to the 1880s.

As I walked back to land again, I moved slowly and touched the plants, thriving in full bloom. I’m grateful that nature finds the cracks in the pavement and the soil beside the steel.

Pride of madeira


Red valerian

Thoroughwort, with thanks to Lawrence whose comment led to the species ID

As always, I welcome your feedback in the comments section.


  1. Wonderful photo collection of beloved, iconic images. The sailboat is dwarfed by the bridge’s shadow!

    The white flower might be a variety of cat’s foot (antennaria). The spikes (‘claws’) are quite long, however, so not 100% certain.

  2. Once again you have taken me out of my Midwest urban environment to enjoy the beauty of the West Coast and the images one can find in California, and left me both breathless and stunned by your ability to capture the lines, colors, and shapes – and thus the beauty of the reality we all can enjoy – if we take the time to really look and “see”. This time, your walk near the SF Bridge has included the lines and curves that humans have made, as they connect two very different shorelines and the water below that you have been able to see as well, and that you capture in the photographs and words you shared with those who read your blog. I was stunned by the sailboat in the shadow of the bridge, the built pattern of the rivets and the natural pattern of the sea lion in the water, and finally soothed by the spring flowers, now (mostly) given a name. Thank you, Beverly.

    Harriet, in Detroit

  3. What a beautiful view you’ve given us of the grand red bridge, pieces of itself closer up than I’ve ever seen, sea life and plant life, as you wander what I imagine as your almost solitary stroll.

    A beautiful beginning to my day.

    Your sister Woodswoman

  4. Great pictures and story once again! I especially enjoyed your shots of and from the iconic bridge. You captured strength and beauty in the perspectives, angles and lighting of the bridge itself. The pictures from the bridge add nature and additional perspective and beauty. Thank you for this!

  5. For your last picture, my Plantnet app suggests Ageratina adenophora (Maui pamakani), Ageratina riparia (Creeping crofton), or Ageratina altissima (Richweed). Try following up on them? And be well!

  6. Beverly

    I love your blogs…… always very interesting and informative. I especially liked the part about the Coastal Miwok Indians.

    Stay well and keep bloggin’

  7. Thank you Woodswoman for the San Fran trip down memory lane. Its good to see all the spring flowers, like old friends popping up when and where you need them most. Huge hug!

  8. Dear Beverly, I always look forward to your blogs and fabulous photography. They are most welcomed in these difficult times. Stay well.

  9. I love the Golden Gate Bridge, and your blog and photos make me wish I could drive there right now :). Stay well and safe. Looking forward to the next blog.

  10. Baccharis pilularis var. p. Genus named after Bacchus also known as Dionysus for the use of a Mediterranean species in flavoring wine.

    • From the photo of the tiny white flowers growing through the steel fence, I can see how it looks like the plant you’re referencing, the native coyote brush. However, the leaves are totally different so I think Lawrence’s ID of thoroughwort is correct. Thanks for being my fellow plant geek!

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