Golden Gate Bridge Review: How missing your bus can have a Silver Lining

I’d never planned on walking across the Golden Gate Bridge twice. After walking 3 miles just to get to the bridge, the last thing I wanted was to walk across the bridge both ways. After all, isn’t that was buses were invented for?

It’s true. I’d wanted to walk across it for years, but just once was all I had in mind. I mean, it’s almost 2 miles long, and there’s a bus stop at the other end. No problem, right? Well, apparently the Universe had something more in mind for me that day.

The day’s adventure had begun at the intersection of Haight and Asbury, a neighborhood that had become famous during the 1960s as a haven for psychedelic rock and counterculture. Famous musical acts like Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and the Grateful Dead all lived short distances from the intersection at the time.

Huge Haight-Ashbury shirt wall

Since then, the spark of the neighborhood had seemed to fade. In fact, after wandering into one of the t-shirt shops and taking the photo above, I was told that I was only allowed to take one photo of the shirts inside.

That’s it. One photo. Try taking another, and you’re out of there. And this is coming from a shop that exists right on the proverbial Holy Land of Counterculture.

One can’t help but ask, “What happened?”

The Golden Journey & The Surprise on the Other Side

I kept moving. I had a long hike ahead of me. My path took me across the city, up to the Presidio of San Francisco, and north to the entrance of the Golden Gate Bridge.

When I finally arrived over an hour later, San Francisco actually seemed small in the distance, it’s skyscrapers appearing like tiny pencils reaching toward the sky. And just beyond the entrance of the bridge, I noticed that the Fort Point lighthouse that had seemed so large about a week before now seemed incredibly tiny when seen from this new vantage point.

Now, let’s be honest.

Until you’ve seen it in person, you really can’t appreciate how huge the Golden Gate Bridge is. It’s over 2.7 km (1.7 mi.) long and services around 300,000 vehicles every single day. And as I made my way across, looking up at it’s two massive towers, it was obvious why this was the most photographed bridge in the world. The bridge itself is nothing less than a work of art, and I felt honored to be able to walk across it. And for free, no less!

When I reached the other side, I found myself at Vista Point Overlook. I’d been here about a week before when I was heading up to the Muir Woods. But this time I was surprised to see a large biker group, all covered in black leather, taking a group picture with the bridge behind them.

Of course, I couldn’t help but sneak a picture of the moment.

Missing the Last Bus

After taking some time to enjoy the view and overall energy of the overlook, I knew I had to hurry if I was going to catch the bus back. I followed a narrow road that cut through rocky hills and expected the bus stop to be easy to find. It wasn’t. I found what I thought was the stop, but as the minutes passed, the reality of the situation settled upon me: I had missed the last bus to San Francisco.

There was only one option now. I had to walk back over the bridge in time to catch the train back to San Jose where my host lived.

Thankfully, the walk back turned out to be a positive experience. Despite my tired legs and feet, I was given a spectacular view of the sunset and the flickering city in the distance. A gibbous moon hung overhead, and I even met a Canadian woman who was also crossing back over the bridge. She was from Vancouver and found the idea of Couchsurfing intriguing. Thankfully, the conversation made the time fly, and soon we were back in San Francisco where we parted ways.

I only barely caught the bus to the train station, but I had done it. I had finally walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, and my San Francisco explorations finally felt complete, at least for this particular West Coast journey.

But that wasn’t the last amazing experience I had in the Bay Area.
Not by a long shot.


Golden Gate Bridge spanning bay with Fort Point Light below

Looking up to PG&E tower and blue sky

Golden Gate Bridge from Vista Point Overlook

Biker Gang at Vista Point Overlook

San Francisco city from afar

Sun setting behind bridge cables with traffic blurring by

— Bonus —

Marco the Spacefarer appears in all 21 photos in the accompanying photo gallery. If you’re new to the “Where’s Marco” game, it’s similar to “Where’s Waldo” or “I Spy”, and it’s totally fun!

But this time something was different. He left is cloak on the entire time, which means he appears completely black in all of the photos. (I suggest looking for him in the shadows.)

Learn how to play →
Then find him in the photos! →

Coming up Next:

With my San Francisco explorations complete, I returned to San Jose to arrange a carpool to Las Vegas. But before I left California, an incredible opportunity to bicycle across South Bay manifested itself, and it turned out to be a blast:

See what happened next →

All accompanying photos are in the Golden Gate Bridge photo gallery. With so much free, high-quality content, why not tell a friend and share this article?

5 bits on Golden Gate Bridge Review: How missing your bus can have a Silver Lining

  1. Very nice photos, love ’em! Thank you for sharing your amazing experience. Can’t wait to read about your next explorations!

  2. I have never seen such photos like this. Very attractive images that catch my attention. they look really great! Thanks for sharing this.

  3. I love these photos! Really amazing.Thank you for sharing this for us.

  4. I like the title of your post, and the moral of it; sometimes not getting what you want or expect leads to something even more wonderful.

    Last time I missed a train and ended up having to go to a different station my unexpected route took me past a baby bird, lost and alone in the middle of the sidewalk. I imagine that if I had not happened that way, he might have been crushed in the foot traffic. Sometimes things don’t go right for a reason 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing that story, Tathata! Sometimes being diverted can save a life, as in your case. Other times, it causes things to go even better than we could have ever imagined. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂