Walk Of Light, San Francisco Bay Area

Hey there folks, hope you’re having a peaceful time on this World Cancer Day.

Walk Of Light was new to me, having been away from the UK for a few years, but I’ve been inspired by @Erica, @clickinhistory and others here to also do a sponsored hike to benefit Blood Cancer UK. Please check out @clickinhistory’s JustGiving page and sponsor away, I say! If you can.

Being diagnosed out of the blue with polycythaemia vera, a rare blood cancer, was quite the shock as I had no symptoms. I was very lucky to be diagnosed without experiencing some of its worst aspects and still feel survivor’s guilt for getting off so lightly, relatively. I called it Bertie as it was too depressing initially to keep saying the C-word. Now that I’m a little more used to my treatments I feel ready to challenge myself and Bertie.

Before diagnosis I was a keen hiker and would often be found roaming the hills, canyons and bayside trails first trodden by the local indigenous peoples of the San Francisco Bay Area, where I am fortunate to live. Gradually I’ve been hiking my way around the Bay Area Ridge Trail—over 400 miles of mostly connected ridgetop trails that circumnavigate the San Francisco Bay and offer the most incredible views inland, across the bay, and out over the Pacific from this beautiful part of California. It’s hella awesome, in local parlance!

So now, for Walk Of Light 2024, I’d like to hike a section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. I’m going to suggest 3 different sections of the Ridge Trail to see which is most popular for me hike, as chosen by you! I’ll figure out how to use a GoPro and record my views and share this once finished. I’ll also take photos along the route to share.

I’ve hiked all these trails before and they’re personal favourites that I’m looking forward to exploring again. But which one?

If you would like to, please donate here, and let me know which route out of the 3 you’d like me to hike.

Thank you!


Hike 1.

Bay Area Ridge Trail - Presidio to Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

This winding route goes through the Presidio, San Francisco’s beautifully rugged coastal park that was a military base and now has such varied splendours as Andy Goldsworthy sculptures, former WWII bunkers, and a stunning Pacific view that leads to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.


Hike 2.

Bay Area Ridge Trail - Mount Tamalpais to Muir Woods National Monument/Pelican Inn (British pub), Mill Valley

When I hiked down through this stunning redwood forest the first time I lost track of time from gazing over the Marin Headlands, across the Golden Gate, above the Pacific. Deer and eagles alike viewed me with as much fascination as I did them. This route can end either at Muir Woods National Monument amongst the roots of the ancient old-growth redwood forest, or at the Pelican Inn British pub at Muir Beach.


Hike 3.

Bay Area Ridge Trail - Redwood Regional Park, Oakland

This luscious park is close to my heart. It’s full of my first experiences of hiking through a redwood forest and happens to be just up on the ridge from me! I often go up here to reset or forest-bathe and I always come away feeling better.


@Duncan it has to be this one, if only because they have appropriated my family name and never sent us any royalty payments. This best thing is, when we did some family history digging, we traced it back to at least the 13th century (family didn’t get about much :wink: ) it is a mistranslation of olde English for a water meadow bounded by trees.
This is an amazing undertaking and looking forward to seeing the images :slight_smile:


I once sold a vintage photograph of this area, once I proved to the buyer the photograph was taken before the bridge was built :wink:


Ah funny, wondered if that was your family name. I love Oakland, it welcomed me to this part of California and is such a beautiful diverse city. Much of it has wooden Victorian houses that survived the big 1906 earthquake and yes there are still lots of oaks. Redwood Regional Park is truly a gorgeous wild space of many terrains, so I always look forward to descending into the redwood canyon there. Smells delicious, like mulchy citrusy firs :evergreen_tree:

Amazing that you can trace your family back so far, to the Middle Ages! No wonder your name changed, spelling wasn’t even formalised back then. On my mum’s side our family tree goes back to the 1700s all around the Scottish Borders, and my dad’s to a similar era. So impressive to me that we can find this stuff out nowadays, like with those DNA tests.

Thank you so much for your support with the Walk Of Light, you really inspired me to go beyond my usual social comfort by sharing my hikes. Incredibly, I woke to find loved ones have already exceeded my donation goal :exploding_head: Such generosity. Now I need to find yours :dollar:


Wow - what amazing photos of such a stunning part of the world. Thank you so much for sharing.
I really wish I was doing the WoL in California too! I do plan to visit one day and travel around the whole state.
Good Luck with the planned route you have, and thank you for fundraising for us too! Please do update us all.
Best wishes, Heidi.


Aww thank you @Heidi_BloodCancerUK! I hope you get to visit California and love it as much as I do. It’s incredible for its vast wildness, so I’d say take a road trip if you can to see more of the state’s nooks and crannies like the desert around Joshua Tree, and the Sierra Nevada mountains around Yosemite :exploding_head:

Thanks too for your support doing this sponsored hike! Will you be walking there, Heidi? You already do this amazing work for Blood Cancer UK! I’m so chuffed to have met my donation goal, but maybe I should raise it as I’ve got a few more weeks to go…

If anyone here on the forum can sponsor me and help choose which hike to do, please do donate to my Walk Of Light.