Dan joined Bay Nature in 2004. A onetime professional cabinetmaker, he considers himself a lifelong maker of things and teller of stories. Dan has been working at the intersection of journalism and technology since, at age 16, he began learning reporting, page layout, and database design. His enduring interest in environmental issues crystallized into a career path in 1998 when he assisted former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass in a cross-disciplinary nature writing and ecology course at UC Berkeley, from which Dan received a Masters in English literature. In 1999, he became Associate Editor of Terrain, the erstwhile quarterly magazine of Berkeley's Ecology Center. In addition to editing and art-directing Bay Nature magazine, he is also Bay Nature’s chief technology strategist, fixer of broken things, and designer of databases and fancy spreadsheets. And he has even been known to leave the office and actually hike outdoors.
Where can you stand on dry land and feel like you're on a Bay cruise? Try Cavallo Point at Fort Baker. The lodge here is pricey, but the hike is free. When the tide reaches full ebb, the whitewater rip currents will have you convinced you're on the deck of an eastbound boat. Walk out on the low "prow" of rock for a spectacle of skylines, kayaks, and spinnakers. Rich marine life lies just off shore. Sea lions and seals pop their heads out, pelicans plunge-dive from the air, and grebes, scoters, and gulls float by.
Climb the nearby steps to Battery Yates, its gun emplacements built in the 1890s. From here you get a classic look at the Golden Gate Bridge, and if you're patient (or lucky) you may spot harbor porpoises. Watch for their small dark triangular dorsal fins as they surface. Absent from the Bay since World War II, they've made a comeback.
Continue on this short section of the Bay Trail along the cliff edge until it joins a dirt road. Follow the new Bay Trail signs right to wooden stairs leading up to paved East Road, where you'll find picnic tables with great views of Angel Island and the Bay.
Getting there:Fort Baker in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is just northeast of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin (take the Alexander Ave. exit off Highway 101 north). Park near the Bay Area Discovery Museum and walk south, left of the Horseshoe Cove marina, until you reach Cavallo Point, where the rock jetty meets the land.
Hike by William Keener, originally published in the January 2010 issue of Bay Nature magazine.