Thinkwalks 2014 • Catalog

by Joel Pomerantz

March 1st, 2014

people sitting at the corner of Duboce and Sanchez

A Thinkwalks group exploring historic water routes takes a break beside the Duboce Park Cafe. As it happens, that’s right where the most important spring in San Francisco’s history was located.

Here’s our first ever Catalog of Thinkwalks! Many of these walks will be scheduled as public events on our Calendar shortly. To get an announcement when the Calendar is completed, sign up for our mailing list. Custom Thinkwalks are also available, based on these, or adapted to fit your topics and needs.

Mission District Water Walking
Length:    3 hr.  Wander along water routes where creeks once flowed, before the city grew up. Some are still flowing, hidden. We’ll discuss the politics and practical bits of local drinking water, sewers, wells, hydrants and reservoirs. Oh! And the springs! There are still springs! Meets at 18th & Dolores by the tennis courts.

Lobos Creek Walk
Length:    3 hr.  Explore the largest creek in San Francisco. Wander through a dune and forest valley in the city. It’s filled with nature surprises and stories of ambition. See the lake that supplies the springs. Pass a hidden graveyard and a jungle that’s great for kids to explore. The culvert that looks like a sewer isn’t. In fact, it’s drinking water overflow.

Redwoods in San Francisco
Length:    3 hr.  Albino trees? Deciduous conifers? Explore surprising tree botany plus some mysteries and political histories. San Francisco’s a boom town. Ancient lumber brought its own boom and was used up by other booms. It even spawned a socialist colony. Lots of walking, few hills.

Social Justice Murals
Length:    2:30  In the north Mission there are artworks you’ve never noticed. Come explore public art in all its forms. Discuss social context and the lineage of street culture from Diego Rivera to anonymous scribbles. A mural organizer himself, your guide can also offer insights into the art process.

Walk the Wiggle
Length:    2:30  The Wiggle’s famous for bicycling through. But linger a moment and explore the story here. Important changes in American culture started here. The neighborhood’s geology and social history will change your way of viewing the whole cityscape.

Niles Canyon Sidewalk Field Trip
Length:    5:30  Thinkwalk down a sidewalk through the woods of a far-off canyon. It’s really San Francisco’s abandoned aqueduct! Carpool to this special adventure an hour’s drive outside the city. Learn your water history at the ornate Water Temple. Meet fellow explorers.

Divisadero Water History
Length:    2 hr.  Newspaper ads detail a lake with duck hunting and an orchard. Visitors stayed at a wayside tavern far from everything in old San Francisco. The trail among the springs and rock outcrops is actually thousands of years old with many names. Now, we call it Divisadero.

California Storms
Length:    2 hr.  Extreme weather is becoming common, but the most extreme storm happened a century and a half ago, just as Western states were being born. Let’s delve into the tricky predictions of drought and future climate. See where SF homes were washed away and how the story was lost for generations.

Duboce Triangle Natural History
Length:    2 hr.  Steep cliffs and running streams right here in the middle of town? Now gone. Or are they? There are hidden clues and pieces still around. We’ll take a look. Come help figure out the names of the disappeared features, and marvel over storms that recently reshaped SF land and local history.

Mount Sutro Secrets
Length:    3 hr.  Deep in the heart of SF a forest grows. It’s a complex one, overrun with invasive vines and other political drama. But it’s incredible to hike through. You’ll see some hidden stairways, mysterious formations and even freshwater springs as we climb this mountain of history.

A Slice of the City
Length:    3 hr.  Come walk two miles of the city’s geography and history along Scott Street. It’s an intensive exploration of the expansion and development of the whole city. Take a dip at the springs! And dip into transportation planning, religious history, racial upheaval and neighborhood complications galore! Ends at Duboce.

Aqueducts History Walk
Length:    3 hr.  There was a water shortage in SF and it was solved by building aqueducts from almost everywhere to reservoirs in the city. Come explore the history of the water system, with visits to some of the least-known springs and most hidden lakes in the region. Ends in Golden Gate Park.

Golden Gate Park Transportation
Length:    3 hr.  Ride your bike around this incredible thousand-acre garden. Discover why the Park is the best place to understand the transportation history of the city. Learn about old tunnels and bridges. Includes a picnic snack.

Presidio Creek Loop Hike
Length:    3 hr.  This hike is filled with discoveries and discussions. We’ll focus on springs, creeks and waterways, visiting half a dozen active water sources. Be ready for a vigorous three hour hike over woodsy hills. You might pick up some history lessons, too. Take the left entrance road into the Baker Beach parking area.

Glen Park Loop Hike
Length:    3 hr.  We’ll have a picnic halfway through this three hour hike over steep streets, sidewalks and sometimes-muddy trails. We’ll talk about “daylighting” plans for the willow-encrusted Islais Creek and why the region was called Little Switzerland.

Valentine Magnolia Messages
Length:    3 hr.  The magnolia species in bloom in SF at this time of year has a secret. You’ll learn the secret. Bring a partner. Your partner will learn some amazing things separately for half an hour or so. When the two halves of our  group reunite, you’ll be ready to give each other the most amazing Valentine gifts. Hot cider provided.

Secret Ride in Golden Gate Park
Length:    2:30  A 900 year-old building? A tree nearly that old? A freight railroad in the Park? Ride slowly through with us. We’ll be digging up some of its lost and obscured urban inspiration. We’ll unearth how the Park was made, and make it ours.

Newcomer class
Length:    3 hr.  Get to know your new home deeply and widely. Join this multi-session guided investigative crew for a few weeks of in-depth Thinkwalking and discussion. At our first meeting, we’ll pick dates for later sessions that work for all of us.

Research Posse
Length:    3 hr.  Explore, discuss, map. Want to really get to know SF deeply and widely? Join this multi-session guided study group for a few weeks of in-depth Thinkwalking. At our first meeting, we’ll pick dates for later sessions that work for all of us. Limit: 10 participants.

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