Coastal Batteries: Mendell, you are there

We decided to go out and play again on Friday afternoon. The Marin Headlands are full of coastal batteries. Most were placed as a result of WWII, but some, like Battery Mendell were built before WWI. Old and dilapidated, they are both an eyesore and a thing of beauty. No longer owned by the military, they are now a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).

Battery Mendell
Battery Mendell as seen from Battery Wallace by Rudha-an. This photo was from a previous trip

Battery Mendell was built in 1901-1902. It was named after George Henry Mendell of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Like many batteries of the era, it was built with disappearing guns. Battery Mendell was the last disappearing carriage site to be removed from service in 1943.

Battery Mendell disappearing carriage
This is Battery Mendell when it was in use. The 12 inch guns were capable of hitting a ship 8 miles away.

While full of graffiti, erosion and other sorts of vandalism, it has a few beautiful spots and it’s open to the public. The surface areas are open at any rate. The underground portions are off limits.

Battery Mendell
Old iron doors by Lastech
Battery Mendell
Detail of the iron doors by Rudha-an
Battery Mendell
This is earthquake country and that means that the ground moves on occasion. Cracks in the cement are common.Photo by Rudha-an
Battery Mendell
Cracks? This one is large enough to be visible on Google Earth. Photo by Rudha-an
Battery Mendell
Photo by Lastech
Battery Mendell
Photo by Rudha-an

From there, we wandered a bit north along the cliff until we came to the base end stations.

Battery Mendell
Base end stations at Battery Mendell by Lastech
Battery Mendell
Rusy iron on the base end station by Rudha-an

While wandering there, we realized that we had a sunset coming up. Don’t groan :-). There are mostly NON sunset photos left. We looked back to the south and realized that there was a part of the battery that we hadn’t explored yet.

Battery Mendell
We saw a fire control tower and realized that we had not explored that area. Off we went. Photo by Lastech

Here is where I take time out to produce a map of sorts. The path in red is our entrance to the area. The bit in yellow was our escape route. The escape route was necessary as there was no way in heck we were going to try that cliffside trail after sunset. Unlike the trail near the base end stations, this had NO fence. We were smart and found the escape route before deciding to stay for a bit.

Map Battery Mendell
The main battery is on the left.  At the end of the red line is a pale box shape. It provided us with a nice perch from which to survey the world. Photo from Google Earth
Battery Mendell
View from the cliff by Rudha-an

While we were on our way, we saw a bunch of pelicans circling overhead. They were beautiful and distracting.

Battery Mendell
Pelicans in flight by Lastech
Battery Mendell
Pelicans by Rudha-an

Once we got to that end of the bluff, the views were stunning. We made sure to find our escape route first though. In case I didn’t mention it, like morans, we didn’t have a flashlight with us. It was a major case of the stupids, but we will be smarter next time.

Battery Mendell
Looking back to the north. The first ridge is where we were when we decided to head this way.
Battery Mendell
I haven’t been able to find out what this part was used for. I’m not even certain that it was part of Battery Mendell. It may have been added later. Photo by Rudha-an
Battery Mendell
I generally despise graffiti, but I did like the dead rat. Photo by Rudha-an
Battery Mendell
The rat was cool, but this was even better. Photo by Rudha-an

We found a nice place to sit and I played with the zoom lens. I was NOT going near the cliff edge again. I should mention that we had a lot of rain recently and that tends to weaken the cliffs. I wasn’t in the mood for a nasty surprise.

Battery Mendell
Grass by Rudha-an
Pelicans
Pelicans! by Rudha-an
Feather
Feather by Rudha-an
Point Bonita Lighthouse
Point Bonita Lighthouse by Rudha-an

Yes, NOW we have the sunset pics.

Sunset
Photo by Rudha-an
Sunset
Sunset with bird by Lastech
Sunset
Photo by Lastech
Sunset
Photo by Rudha-an


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