With weather in the high 70s, today was the perfect day to get out and explore Angel Island. San Francisco, normally famous for it’s fog, boasted a rare, and sunny day complete with torn cotton-candy-like clouds.
We started our adventure by biking to BART, and getting off the Embarcadero station. From there, we biked to Pier 41 and boarded the Ferry that would take us to Angel Island. A quick 30 minute or so ride, and we were ready to begin our ascent up to Perimeter Road.
A 5.8 mile loop, mostly on paved roads like the one seen below
with stunning 360 views of the Bay
Our first stop was down Camp Reynolds road, an infantry garrison with history dating back as far as the American Civil War.
hard to imagine a plot of land busy with soldiers. Instead, it was our private backyard for our lunch, where front and center, we would be facing the Golden Gate Bridge.
We’ve become used to crowds of people in areas with iconic views of landmarks, so you can understand how shocked we were to have this whole beach all to ourselves!
We eventually got back on to the paved road and continued to explore the perimeter. It felt like at every corner we kept finding views of San Francisco, from a slightly different angle.
Scattered along the island are remnants of military buildings. The dilapidated buildings with tattered paint gave way to a rustic look. The authenticity of the buildings kept your your mind imagining the changes this island has endured throughout the years.
We didn’t bring our board shorts, or bikinis for this trip, but we still walked down to Quarry Beach. The beach had no more than 10 people total, not including these kayakers who had just launched.
Just as I was beginning to think today was one of those unforgettable days because of the perfect weather, and stunning views, we entered a dark, historical aspect of the island when we entered the US Immigration Station (North Garrison).
For many Asian Americans, but mostly Chinese and Japanese, Angel Island was supposed to be the end of their journey towards freedom and a better life. Instead, it was here on Angel Island in the US Immigration Station where severe discrimination, and hatred was cast upon thousands of individuals. Frustration. Anger. Segregation. Loneliness. Exclusion. Sole words, labeled on a sculpture in honor to those who went through this system, deeply resonated through us as we spent time wandering the grounds.
The recreated sleeping quarters, and interrogation rooms were eerie to see. Many of the rooms had Chinese characters carved into the wood panels. The characters are poems telling the stories of the pain, suffering, and discrimination faced.
Finally, it was time to leave this island and head back to San Francisco.
As the day ended, and we returned home…we felt like the only thing we could do that would make this day better would be to see the day’s sunset.
GoPro Video Footage of our trip!
- pack your own lunch
- purchase ferry tickets online, show up early at ticketing booth
- bikers are first ones on ferry, but last ones off ferry