Mt Davidson Ethereal in the Fog

This is one of our “park visitor” series – first person accounts of our parks, published with permission.

Last month, I walked up mysterious and beautiful Mt Davidson on a foggy day with a friend.

pics45 081We entered through this gate, just to the left of the bus stop on Myra Way. I wondered why the gate had so many different locks on it.

six locksWe continued up the path and into the lovely  forest.

Mt Davidson forest Aug 2014In other parts of California – and even on the other side of this very mountain – the plants are dry and brown. The forest was damp and green and lush.

Brilliant nasturtiums in fog-filled Mt Davidson forestThe nasturtiums bloomed in bright orange highlights in the misty forest.

wild strawberries on Mt DavidsonWild strawberries provided little pops of red.

Mt Davidson Misty ForestEven though I know this forest, it felt like walking into a fairy-tale.

Fairytale forest on Mt DavidsonIt was easy to understand how people in ages past thought forests might have enchanted deer or birds or other beings living in them.

enchanted animals or birds could live hereAs we climbed up, I could see Mount Davidson’s Cross among the trees.

climbing up toward the cross

We passed the vista point, where the Murdered Tree fell over last year. But the view was only of Karl the Fog, denser now.

Murdered tree point with no vista

The little plateau of the Cross was completely misty.

Mt Davidson Cross in the fogSomeone was conducting a memorial ceremony of his own there, at the foot of the cross.  A few people wandered around. For some reason, this picture reminds me of an Ingmar Bergman film.

Mt Davidson Cross in the fog - aug 2014

Appropriately, forget-me-nots bloomed a light blue nearby.

forget-me-nots near Mt Davidson Cross Aug 2014As we made out way down from the cross, we found this little cave, where someone had erected tiny cairns of stones. It was half hidden by the Pacific Reed grass, the moisture-loving grass that grows like green hair over the rocks above the trail.

tiny cairns in a little cave - mt DavidsonHere’s another picture to show the scale of the cave.

cairn cave handWe wandered back down the trail, looking at the moss in the trees of the mist forest…

moss and fern in Mt Davidson tree

… and the epiphytes, like these ferns.

ferns on tree in Mt Davidson Forest

It was time to leave. In the words of Robert Frost: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep/ But I have promises to keep/ And miles to go before I sleep.”

But as long as  this forest and I are around in San Francisco, I’ll be back.

stone steps in Mt D forest


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6 Responses to Mt Davidson Ethereal in the Fog

  1. Madeline Hovland says:

    Beautiful photo essay! Did someone in the Forest Alliance write it and take the photos?

    Madeline Hovland

  2. Jeaer Reedy says:

    I live here … and I appreciate your words and photos. If only the city government would appreciate them.

  3. Tony Holiday says:

    What a great post and beautiful pix! Love the cross in the fog.

  4. Richard Crooks says:

    It is such a beautiful place and let’s hope it will always be left alone in all of its beauty.

  5. Daphne says:

    Is this wonderful photo essay by Dee Seligman? Love the close up of nasturtiums, wild strawberries, forget-me-nots, and the moss and epiphytes on the trees. Perhaps those wee stone cairns were made by wee folks showing the direction of an enchanted hidden trail. Lovely writing and descriptions.

    [Webmaster: Not by Dee Seligman, this time, though we’d love to see more from her in our Park Visitor series. Incidentally, anyone can submit a report and photographs for that series about our San Francisco parks – email us at SFForestNews at]

  6. Carole Issel says:

    What a beautiful reminder of what used to be one of my favorite walks. Sadly, the last two times I ventured a little way up the trail I was frightened by unleashed dogs, lost my footing and went back downhill.

    [SFForest: It’s a truly lovely place. We’re sorry you had a bad experience. We’ve generally found dog-owners to be responsible and the dogs friendly, but there are as always exceptions.]

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