Bernal Hill Is Now Very Green, Very Lush, and Very Gorgeous

24630148982_1ddfa902fb_k

January was gray and damp, and according to the weather-watchers, we had more rain in January 2016 than we had for the previous five Januaries combined. Hooray! But there was a break between storms over the weekend, so Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter and I took advantage of the sun to document the glory of Bernal Hill in full Green Mode.

To make our tour a little easier to follow, let’s use this official Ski Bernalwood trail map for navigational reference:

The Cub Reporter and I started on the south side, under a cloudless blue sky, just below Sutrito Tower. The colors were sizzling.

dKDeR

From there we walked toward Rock Quarry. For much of the year, this area looks like a passable facsimile of the surface of Mars. But right now, the chert formations in the quarry have grown a green peachfuzz beard:

24630140592_ecfa457e88_k

And of course, no visit to Rock Quarry is complete without some walking meditation in the labyrinth:

24721733666_5a6f8255b8_k

Thus even more mindfully, we headed north along the western rim of the quarry, after stopping to admire another reminder that Bernal Is For Lovers:

24747937485_1968c65f1d_k
Then we started climbing up, to take in that incredible OMFG Martian view of Sutro Tower and Noe Valley:

24452400720_625467e849_k

From there we continued north, to take in the colors and contrasts of the Owl’s Nest face. This is always one of my favorite views, but it’s so much more festive in green, don’t you think?

24630135002_bf96e2de3f_k

Then we climbed a little higher, to the fence around Sutrito Tower just above the 14 Limited face. From here, Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter took a moment to survey her hometown. (It must be tough to grow up in San Francisco, because it kind of ruins you for life):

24380284319_885d062605_kFrom there we continued along the summit ridge, until we got our first view of Bernal Hill’s east half. Oh my:

24380285999_0ae2b9e128_k
We continued east, walking along the ridge beneath the Vista Pointe chairlift, toward the quiet slope of Haunted House, on the southeast part of the hill. Thick green grasses were billowing in the wind, and hundreds of yellow Oxalis were open to the sun:

24452406810_f85d8d15ad_k
Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter confessed that this is actually her favorite spot on Bernal Hill. Then she sat down in a patch of grass with a panoramic view of the 101-280 spaghetti bowl, and began to weave a garland from Oxalis flowers:

24471037190_9d5250d57c_k

That moment was about as good as any moment gets anywhere on our planet — or any other planet, for that matter. I looked back toward the west, to appreciate the scene:

24387305759_f23b208a9d_o

It was time to continue our survey, so we contined east along the north side of the ridge, until we hit the mysterious tree-shrub thingy that some Bernalwood readers  tell us is actually a California Buckeye. Only, with so much green grass beneath it, it doesn’t seem quite so spooky at the moment:

24459440000_587790fb68_o

From afar,  however, the tree-shrub thingy still looks sculptural, and the intensity of the green grass makes it look even more otherworldly:

24754956475_dca56ec319_o

Starting today, we’re in for a few days of unsettled weather. But next time the sun comes out, take a lazy stroll on Bernal Hill  to enjoy it during this period of peak seasonal engreenment. You will feel fortunate.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

 

Spirit Animal Alert!! Coyote Sighting on Bernal Hill

Coyote.bernal

Yesterday, the Bernalwood Office of Wildlife Affairs received several confirmed reports of a coyote sighting from multiple locations on Bernal Hill. The photo above was taken on Bernal Hill yesterday by @nataliacosa, and it’s so amazing.

Neighbor Jim captured a photo of the coyote  on the hill at 10:15 am, “just above the art rock,”  he says. (Specifically, it looks like the slope on the northeast face that riders at Ski Bernalwood call “Buckeye.”)

coyote.jim

And here’s what Neighbor Chris saw at about 9 am, near the quarry on the southwest side:

coyote.chris2

Coyote.chris

Now, if we can set aside spirit animals and natural wonder for a moment… it’s time for a Public Safety Announcement. The coyote on Bernal Hill is awe-inspiring, but it also means humans with dogs — and especially, small dogs — should be vigilant.  We encourage you to re-read these important tips from a local coyote whisperer on how to navigate coyote-canine encounters.

UPDATE: Neighbor Jengis documented another coyote sighting today, Jan. 26, at about 10:20 am around “the wilds near Waltham and Alabama”:

coyote_4

David Bowie Remembered During Renegade Bernal Hill Memorial Singalong

Bowiebernal2

Something beautiful, and lovely, and enchanted, and very Bernal happened last night. At the end of a day that many Bernalese spent mourning the death of David Bowie, a Bernal neighbor hit upon the genius idea to organize a tribute: A renegade David Bowie singalong and dance party on Bernal Hill.

bernalcandle

Bernalwood received a private communication about the idea from Neighbor Sam via the red phone late Monday afternoon:

Hey Bernalwood….wondering if you’ve heard of any memorial gathering in Bernal tonight for a little Starman sing-a-long? Was thinking top of the hill at sundown…

“Oh hell yes!” we said. By 5:30 pm Neighbor Sam had completed the arrangements. She’d procured two loudspeakers, wrangled a generator, and compiled an all-Bowie playlist. An 8 pm start-time was selected, and shortly before 6 pm, Bernalwood was authorized to begin transmitting an all-points invitation via our social media frequencies:

This was greeted almost instantly by an energetic cascade of Twitter retweets and Facebook reshares.

The result was that even though there had been just two hours of advance notice for Neighbor Sam’s renegade David Bowie memorial singalong, somewhere around 50 to 75 people come together on Bernal Hill to remember Bowie’s life and listen to his music.

bernalfamilybowie
It was dark on our hill, but the air was  calm and clear, and the lights of San Francisco unfurled like a twinkling Ziggy Stardust galaxy below. Here’s a sampler of the scene; a video montage of three Bowie songs, as experienced by a very lucky group of neighbors on Bernal Hill last night:

The tribute lasted for about an hour and a half, and there were many smiles and hugs, and then it was over.

Immense thanks go out to Neighbor Sam, who provided the inspiration and the infrastructure to make this magical, musical Bernal Bowie memorial happen. Somewhere in space, we know David Bowie was smiling.

PHOTOS and VIDEO: Telstar Logistics

Murals Proposed for Sutrito Tower Utility Building on Bernal Hill

sutritomurals3

A proposal is currently making the rounds to paint murals on the walls of the bunker-like utility building that sits inside the Sutrito Tower complex atop Bernal Hill. Under the current proposal, Precita Eyes Muralists would create four murals on each side of the building.

Omar Masry from the City’s Planning Department is circulating details about the proposal:

  • The radio tower and building are privately operated by American Tower Corporation (ATC). The Planning Department has been working with other City agencies (Public Safety, Department of Technology) and ATC on improvements to the site such as repairing fencing, adding landscaping (no trees well outside of the fence line are affected), a water tank (using recycled water), security (primarily motion-based) lighting, removing any abandoned antennas, and so on.
  • The tower features antennas for both commercial users, as well as those used by the City to communicate with police and firefighters in the neighborhood. So, improving security here is important, and we would appreciate your assistance in being an extra set of eyes for any suspicious activity, trespassing, or vandalism.
  • ATC is considering hosting a mural by a local artist group, Precita Eyes, on the walls of the building. Please see attached.
  • Please feel free to let me know your thoughts, or to contact Susan with Precita Eyes Muralists directly.
  • Because the building is privately owned, the mural is not subject to City review.

Precita Eyes has done conceptual drawings for each of the four proposed murals, with a narrative written to explain what the murals represent:

Bernal Heights Tower Medicine Wheel Mural Project Narrative

The initial concept of this project was inspired by the building’s natural surroundings, and its alignment with the cardinal directions, corresponding to the Ohlone (Aboriginal peoples of the greater Bay Area) medicine wheel. The four colors of the wheel represent all our relations, and declare peace for each other and the creatures found in the wild. Because it is a telecommunications tower, included are crystal mineral formations and geometric shapes to compliment ground built from surrounding native plants and trees.

The brief descriptions to follow reflects the properties and essences of each cardinal direction, which serves as the base color for each wall.

Yellow- East
Sutritosouth
Represents the male energy and direction of the rising sun and fire. Animals present are the San Francisco Garter Snake and the Tule Elk.

Black- West
Sutritowest
Also known as the direction of the feminine aspects seen as turtle, the continent known as Turtle Island stretching from North to South America. The word Tonantzin seen in the sky means Mother Earth in Nahuatl, the ancient language of the Mexica. Also important are the sacred waters and relationship with Metzli (The Moon), the death of one day (represented by the Flicker bird) leading to the next along with a pair of Great Blue Herons. The Lotus Flower and Native sage are also visualized.

Red- South
Sutrtoreast Held by the youth, essence of will and discipline, symbolized by the hummingbird. The wild curiosity of the Raccoon’s and Coyote’s trickster spirit is ever present in our modern day environment. The Black Widow web represents our collective web and security on the far left side connecting to an abstract version of native mother bird nesting.

White- North
Sutritornorth
The north side serves as an homage to our past, present and future relations and the word ancestors is read within the wings of a Golden Eagle with silhouetted figures underneath enjoying the sights and tranquility of Bernal Heights.

Leading Design Artists:

Max Marttila
Eli Lippert
Fred Alvarado
Dno Deladingo
Suaro Cervantes

Ok, got all that?

Here’s my personal $0.02: Putting murals on the walls of the Sutrito Tower utility building is a great idea, and long overdue. Yet Precita Eyes is already very, very well represented in our neighborhood. To name just a few, Precita Eyes did the piece on the front of the Bernal Heights library. Precita Eyes did the mural on the Precita Neighborhood Center, on Precita near Alabama. Precita Eyes did the murals on Leonard Flynn School, facing Precita Park. Precita Eyes has a mural on the Walgreens, on the northwest corner of Mission and Cesar Chavez. Precita Eyes has also been tapped to do a 9-story mural on the side of the subsidized housing project for senior citizens on Shotwell near Cesar Chavez.  Most of these are terrific pieces, but there’s no need for us to live in a mural monoculture, especially when there are a so many artists (young and old) who live in Bernal Heights, and who could bring an alternative perspective to this iconic. high-profile site. This is an excellent opportunity for us to diversify our public art and celebrate a broader range of Bernal talent. Why not give someone else a chance? Please, American Tower Corporation?

Of course, your opinion may differ. If you’d like to share your feedback on the current proposal, you can comment below or email Omar Masry from the Planning Department at omar.masry@sfgov.org.

PHOTO: Aerial view of Bernal Hill from Telstar Logistics

Sunday: Join Your Neighbors for a Seasonal, Celebratory Bernal Hill Cleanup

protectme.green

For tens of thousands of years, the wizened druids who once populated our lands marked the arrival of the rains and the season of thanks by joining together on our hill to manicure the terrain and make it more beautiful.

This Sunday, Nov. 22, Neighbor Brian Cronin invites you to carry on this hallowed tradition by participating in a volunteer clean-up on Bernal Hill:

Hello neighbors,

The Bernal Hill Engreening Clean Up is this Sunday, November 22nd, from 9:30 am-noonish.

A group of your neighbors will be on the Hill this Sunday to spruce it up before the budding grass becomes too tall to see, and the rains become thick! Join forces with your lovely neighbors to give Bernal Hill some much needed TLC by cleaning up trash and debris. Weather should be bright and clear!

  • Meet at the bulletin boards on the SOUTH SIDE of Bernal Heights Park (closest intersection is Bernal Heights Blvd. and Anderson St.) or the NORTH SIDE of Bernal Heights Park at the Folsom gate, at 9:30am.
  • Bring all the stuff you need to be sun smart and comfortable: snacks, water, sunscreen, sunhat and gloves, and maybe a coffee cup as some neighbors have promised to bring coffee!
  • Bring shovels and brooms, if you have them, to push eroded material back off the walking path, and other tools such as pickers to get the job done more easily.
  • Wear boots if you plan on wading through the ivy below Bernal Heights Blvd. to dig out the booze warrens and summer hovels.
  • There will be some garbage bags, and nitrile gloves. But consider bringing your own bags and gloves (such as canvas work gloves) as we may not have enough.
  • All ages welcome. Parents, you’re responsible for monitoring your children and making sure they don’t stray onto steep slopes or grab broken glass.
  • When you’re done, bring your bags to the garbage bins near your original meeting places by the bulletin boards. DPW will do an extra garbage pickup the following day.

Thank you for helping keep Bernal Hill beautiful, and we look forward to seeing you there!

PHOTO: Bernal Hill, 2012 by the Bernalwood Air Force

Seasonal Transition Alert! Bernal Hill Engreening Officially Underway

engreening1

engreening2

With the blessed arrival of some early season rains, it was just a matter of time before Bernal Hill began its annual transition from Brown Mode to Green Mode.

This morning, a proclamation from Neighbor Veronica made it official:

The Engreenening has begun!

Indeed! Neighbor Veronica also shared these photos of Bernal Hill’s verdant new peachfuzz to verify the transformation that’s now underway.

Hail the rains! Hail the green!

PHOTOS: Neighbor Veronica