It’s easy to get wrapped up in the major attractions, shopping, and restaurants of a metropolitan city like San Francisco but what’s nice about this place is that you can also get a taste of nature and the outdoors without having to go very far.
I’ve been on a hiking kick lately not just for the exercise but that so I can practice my photography skills and take advantage of all the great trails and view points within the city of San Francisco itself. One such area is Mt. Davidson. The Mt. Davidson Cross is pretty famous and can be seen from many spots. I can even see it from my bedroom window.
I remember my great uncle pointing it out to me from my window when I was little. He said the trees were growing taller and taller making it harder and harder to see the cross. I always think of him when I glance up at the cross but I’ve never actually taken the time to figure out how the cross got there and what it means. So I was motivated to hike up there and spurred on by a lot of beautiful Instagram shots from other users.
A very brief history: a wooden cross was first erected in the 1920s for the first annual Easter Sunrise Service, a service which still happens today, and was supported by local Christian communities. There were many iterations of the cross in the years after and after once such iteration was burned down, they finally constructed a cross of fireproof concrete. In the 1990s, a lawsuit was brought against the City of San Francisco because the cross on city land was in violation of the constitution of California which mandates a separation of church and state. Years after the lawsuit, it was decided that the land would be sold and the Council of Armenian Organizations of Northern California won the land in an auction. The cross (and accompanying plaque which I couldn’t get a good picture of because of the shadows) now serves “as a memorial to the 1.5 million Armenian victims of the Armenian Genocide,” and “honors all victims of injustice, cruelty, and genocide. It also serves as a reminder to remain vigilant against future atrocities.”
The view is beautiful from Mt. Davidson and you won’t find a lot of tourists up there so it was quiet and spacious. The hike to the cross is easy to moderate but I will definitely go back with friends to explore the other trails within the park. In the meantime, now when I look up at the cross from my window, I’ll know how it got there and what it means. Here are some snaps I took during my hike:
Source: Mt. Davidson Cross