Marin Headlands Sunrise and Geocaches

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The Golden Gate at Sunrise and exploring Battery Spencer

Geocache #1: Big View

Geocache #2: Marin Headlands 2

Geocache #3: Guns Over The Gate

Fort Barry

Breakfast in Sausalito


pdf map of Marin Headlands


Golden Gate Bridge at Sunrise and exploring Battery Spencer

We woke up at 3:30am and couldn't fall back to sleep. Jimmy suggested driving to the Marin Headlands and watch the sunrise and do a little geocaching. He quickly downloaded cache information for the area onto the GPS and iPod and we left San Jose at 4:30am. As we drove north, we watched the almost full moon set to the west as the first signs of light appeared to the east. We arrived at the Golden Gate Vista Point at 5:30am - there were only 3 other cars there! We headed over to the Marin Headlands in time to watch the sun rise over Mt. Diablo at 5:50. The fog rolled in and out, so several times our views were obscured, however it seemed like it would clear just at the right moments. We explored the bunkers along the Headlands, attempted 3 geocaches, succeeding in finding 2.


San Francisco, minutes before sunrise 5:37am

View from the Golden Gate Vista Point 5:37am

Just after sunrise, 6:06am.

All of my pictures of the actual sunrise were corrupt.

I guess my digital camera didn't like the bright light.

The first light shining on the Marin Headlands

Battery Spencer

These looked like the barracks for the soldiers stationed here.

This appeared to be the washroom

Sunrise Shadows

Another view of SF and the bridge from Battery Spencer

Sunrise over Marin Headlands 6:18am

Sausalito and Tibouron

wild lupines


This is a pretty cool view of our tracks while we watched the sunrise. Obviously, these aren't the 'live' satellite pictures on the day we went, the sun in this picture is to the west and since we watched it rise, it would still be to the east of us. But Jimmy found this cool website that overlays our tracks onto their map so we have an image of exactly where we went. This is our favorite tracking of the day since you can see the Golden Gate Bridge here.

Remember to click on the image to view a larger picture.


The Big View Geocache

It was a bit hazy early this morning, but breathtaking none-the-less. Jimmy drove right up to the cache! The hint said to check the guard rail, so it was easy to find the film canister. We signed the log sheet and took a few pictures. Our 2nd successful find!

Hazy but incredible view from the Big View Geocache

Not only did we find the microcache, but Jimmy parked right next to it!

The little turtle in the microcache and our GPS. We signed the log sheet inside the film canister.

Our log:

 April 3 by jretz (3 found)
1st of 3 today. Coordinates were right on! Foggy most of the time but luckily, lifted for a few minutes to tease us with the amazing views. Log was a little moist but still in good shape. We signed the back of it, like a few others before us.


Marin Headlands 2 Geocache

After leaving Big View, we started to explore for this geocache. We headed into the Battery Construction No. 129 tunnel, which lead to a foggy pine tree forest. We followed the trail up to Hawk Hill and explored the bunkers for a while, admiring the view, mostly dense fog at this point, and amazed at the military protection we had over the San Francisco bay less than 70 years ago. Most of the bunkers we explored today were disarmed in the 1940's. The construction on this particular battery was never completed nor armed. As we approached this cache, the fog started to lift and we had the most amazing view of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tamalpais, Berkeley, Pacifica and Devils Slide. On a clearer day, we'd easily be able to see the San Mateo Bridge. This was a virtual cache, which means there is no actual booty or log, but you need to find some sort of information and send it to the cache owner for verification. This was our favorite cache of the day, the views were incredible.

Tunnel leading to Battery 129

Painting inside the tunnel

Stairs leading up to Hawk Hill

Interesting building atop Battery 129 on Hawk Hill

We found the Virtual Cache "Marin Headlands 2"

Our 2nd successful find for the day, all before 7:15 in the morning!

View of the Sutro Tower and Twin Peaks from Hawk Hill

Our view of the car from Hawk Hill

Another view of our lone car 7:11am

Fog in the valley

Mt. Tamalpais in the background

Our fog shadows! It was a little eerie seeing shadows in the fog, especially with the halo around us.

Ghostly figures coming though the fog.

Lichen covering the trees

Small buddy sunning himself in the new morning light 7:34am.


Our GPS tracks on Hawk Hill. On the bottom right, you can see the ocean.


Our Log:

 April 3 by jretz (2 found)
It was really foggy as we headed up the trail, but amazingly cleared just as we got to the cache to enjoy the breathtaking views. We'll take all of our visiting friends and family here now instead of the vista point. Thanks!


Guns over the Gate Geocache

We spent a long time at Marin Headlands 2, and the people were starting to appear so we decided to try our last cache for the day. We got to this cache just past 8am, and searched and searched for the microcache for over 45 minutes. Thwarted! The hint said that it was magnetic, and others who had found it said it was a very sneaky hide. Another said that he couldn't believe his wife put her hand down there, yet someone else said he found it by accident. Although we couldn't find the cache, it was fun exploring, albeit a bit risky. The gunneries were hard to get into, one tiny false step and you'd fall 20 feet down to the road. Jimmy had to do a bit of spiderman action to get into the gunnery to explore it, unsuccessfully. The fog had almost completely lifted so the views were incredible. It was still a touch hazy, but that's normal for a spring day in San Francisco.

Defunct gunnery in Fort Barry

View of the from the gunnery

Jimmy searching for the cache in the gunnery

Western view of the headlands from the gunnery


We went around and around in circles trying to find this cache. But as you can see, our view of the ocean was magnificent despite not being able to find it.


Our Log:

 April 3 by jretz (3 found)
We searched for about 45 minutes, enjoying the views while we looked. Poked around everywhere imaginable, vertical, horizontal, upside down, inside out!


Fort Barry

We intended on hitting 1 more geocache, but were distracted by a bob cat and drove past it. We drove though Fort Barry on our way back to the highway, enjoying the greenery and wondering about the military activity of the previous century. There still seemed to be a bit of activity going on there, but we're not sure if it's active military action, or weekend warriors enjoying the location and scenery. We saw a family of quail scurrying across the road, so we paused and watched them quickly run in front of us.

Quail at Fort Barry

Fort Barry



Breakfast in Sausalito

9:30am. We've been up for 6 hours already and feeling hungry after a morning of exploring and geocaching. We sat down at a fine cafe, but I decided that I'd rather just eat on a bench outside and enjoy the warming morning and clearing views of the San Francisco skyline. I packed a couple of bananas before we left, so while we ate them, we watched a few fishermen on a boat 20 feet off shore, with their lines about 5 feet from shore (good thing they were on a boat!), and soaked in the sun. Afterwards, we went to Central Computer on Howard St, checked out the ice rink at the Metreon, and as we headed back to San Jose, we stopped for lunch at our favorite restaurant, La Morenita in Palo Alto.

Bridgeway Ave, Sausalito

Our view while we ate breakfast on a park bench in Sausalito after a morning of exploring the Marin Headlands and geocaching.


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madretz 2004