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Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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Fun. Glorious Fun.

Earlier this month, I spent a few wonderful days in San Francisco with friends I've known since junior high and high school. Glorious doesn't begin to describe the weather and fun can't possibly sum up the good times spent with old friends. Yet, glorious fun is precisely what we had.

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A Day Date with Myself to the Marin Headlands

I absolutely love exploring places with other people. More often than not, I'll convince my husband or call upon friends to come with me when I get the urge to just go and see and do.Not long ago, however, I discovered the complete joy of exploring places alone. As in, by myself. With no one else. Just me, myself and I. It's lovely.

That's not to say I'll ever stop exploring and traveling with others. I love that too much. Yet, I find myself drawn to the convenience of the occasional solo journey, where I can move at my own pace, have little need for compromise and can listen to whatever music I choose on the way there (and back).

Several weeks ago, I ventured out on a solo date -- a day date with myself, if you will -- to the Marin Headlands located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area just north of San Francisco.

This was the same trip during which I was able to spend time admiring the Golden Gate Bridge and the day was filled with all of the things I wanted to experience.

I started at the Marin Headlands Visitor Center, which I highly recommend if you've never been to the park before:

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The helpful docents told me about a few short trails and I opted for the Rodeo Lagoon Trail, which starts at the parking lot and ends at the ocean. It's a fairly easy trail and since I had my sights set on the Point Bonita Lighthouse (which I'll get to shortly) and the Golden Gate Bridge, it sounded like the perfect way to start the day.

The trail takes you through wetland areas and under fantastic tree canopies like this:

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There is also a giant tree along the trail that creaks and cracks in the breeze:

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Once you're out from under the trees, you'll start getting a glimpse of the trails' namesake lagoon and Fort Cronkhite beyond.

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Then you'll catch a breathtaking (at least to me) view of Rodeo Beach:

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I sat for a bit at the edge of the lagoon:

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Again, lovely. I took in the sites:

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Perfect. And decided to explore the beach a bit:

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The beach was blustery at best, but the sights and sounds were just what I needed.

I knew that I wanted to have plenty of time to explore the lighthouse and the bridge, so I headed back along the trail to the parking lot. Once in the car, the trail head for Point Bonita Lighthouse was a short drive up the hill. If I'm not mistaken, you can hike from Rodeo Beach to Point Bonita Lighthouse, but that wasn't in the cards during this visit.

When I reached the trail head, my first thought was, "what lighthouse?"

The tricky headlands have her hidden from view:

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You'll head down the short, steep trail and end up at the entrance to a tunnel:

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The tunnel is open only part of the day, so be sure to check the schedule at the visitor center before you head toward the lighthouse.

Once you exit the tunnel, you'll walk a skinny path that hugs a cliff. After a few bends and curves, the small lighthouse will come into view:

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While it's not a grand structure, Point Bonita Lighthouse is the only known lighthouse reachable just by suspension bridge. We all know how much I love a cool bridge, so naturally, I was impressed.

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Because of where the lighthouse is situated, it offers great views from the platform toward the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Can you imagine being a docent? Talk about a corner office!

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Back on solid ground (yes, my friends, the bridge sways in the breeze wind), you can catch a glimpse of just how amazing this structure really is. It's perched on the very last bit of land and has been in that spot since 1877.

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Amazing.

As I mentioned, I wrapped up my perfect little solo excursion with a healthy dose of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can read more about that here.

Anyone else enjoy the occasional solo adventure? What do you find rewarding about traveling, exploring or sight seeing alone?

Link up in the comment section if you'd care to share!

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Happy Tuesday, all!

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Build a Bridge: The Golden Gate

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Well, it had to happen at some point.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world and she and I finally had a chance to hang out several weeks ago.

Just look at her:

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I added a little quality time with the Golden Gate to a day trip to Marin Headlands and let me tell you: it was worth it. Sunday traffic and end-of-summer-crowds weren't about to stop me. I even had a chance to walk along the bridge to admire the beauty up close:

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The view from the bridge isn't all that bad, either:

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For those unfamiliar with the Golden Gate Bridge, the best place to start is the Golden Gate Transportation District website. You'll not only find current traffic advisories, a live webcam and toll information, but you can also learn more about the history behind the structure. The bridge recently turned 75 years young and San Francisco threw the ol' girl a huge bash (Which I sadly had to miss. Such is life.).

During this visit, I realized just how many times I have driven across the Golden Gate.

So, so many...

Regardless, I find myself in awe every. single. time.

How about you? Have you ever seen the Golden Gate in all her glory? Any other iconic bridges that make your heart go pitter-patter?

Link up in the comment section and share away!

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Happy Tuesday, all!

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