The MAD Outdoors

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir

MAD Director John Murray and Finn McCool walk Kelly’s Cove at Ocean Beach

MAD Director John Murray looks on as Finn McCool paws the surf.

Last week, MAD Director John Murray visited Kelly’s Cove at Ocean Beach with his Newfoundland puppy Finn McCool. The two are frequent visitors to the cove where they walk to Lincoln Way and back. In the fall and late summer, when the tides tend to be lower, they round the point below the Cliff House, just to the north of Seal Rock, and enjoy Fisherman’s Rock and Sutro Bath Beach as well.

Against a backdrop of well known landmarks, Finn lounges in a freshly dug hole.

On most days there are not more than a dozen to two dozen people along this entire stretch of beach, mostly walkers, joggers, and dog walkers, with a handful of surfers bobbing on the waves and a surf fisherman or two staked in at the water’s edge. This section of O.B. entertains a wide variety of individual activities from yoga, tai chi, and meditation to playing music, photography, and kite flying. You can even study at the beach. It’s also a great place to catch up on your journaling or reading.

With Mt. Tamalpais in the distance, a flurry of Snowy Plover mill about in the surf.

If Kelly’s Cove is not within walking or biking distance, and you are concerned about your carbon footprint, there are several MUNI routes that take you to or within walking distance of the beach. The 38 Geary, 31 Balboa, 5 Fulton, N Judah, and 18 Sloat all stop at or near the cove. If you live close to Golden Gate Park, on weekends, the park provides a free shuttle that operates from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and runs the length of the park with a stop on the Great Highway directly opposite the Beach Chalet.

A couple of surfers brave the tide and temperature of the Ocean Beach waters.

The purpose of “The MAD Outdoors” is to encourage and support you, our readers, in your efforts to spend time in nature on a regular basis. This feature is intended to be interactive with the hope of creating a synergistic online community in which we inform and energize each other. The idea being that energy is infectious, and we can all build on our shared experiences, information, and ideas.

A small squadron of brown pelicans on patrol over Seal Rock.

That being said, we at MAD welcome you to tell us about your latest outdoor excursions, your favorite places to experience nature, or any interesting articles, books, videos, films or lectures that you have enjoyed which you think might enhance your fellow readers enjoyment of nature. Your submissions can be as simple or elaborate as you like. A brief phrase such as “Coast Trail last week - spectacular!” would be just as welcome as a fully produced, multimedia video.

A veteran surf fisherman wades in at Ocean Beach.

Send all your MAD Outdoors’ communications to, and we will post them in The MAD Times and on The MAD Outdoors webpage. We look forward to hearing from you and to growing our outdoors community with you.

In previous issues, we linked to articles which enumerated the myriad benefits of spending time outdoors in general. In this issue we are linking to two articles that discuss the specific health benefits of spending time at the beach.

The Ocean’s Curative Powers: 9 Health Benefits of the Sea

By Anastasia Bailey

January 6, 2017

The first article “The Ocean’s Curative Powers: 9 HealthBenefits of the Sea,” written by Anastasia Bailey, and posted on the Wise + Well website on January 6, 2017, is a survey of the salubrious effects of spending time at the beach. You can link to that article above. The second article “How the Beach Benefits Your Brain, According to Science,” was written by Anne Gherini and first appeared on Inc. This Morning’s webpage on Nov. 20, 2017. For all you scholars out there, as its title so clearly indicates, this article more narrowly focuses on the beach’s benefits to the brain. You can link to that article below.

Inc. This Morning

How the Beach Benefits Your Brain, According to Science

By Anne Gherini

November 20, 2017

Rules, Regulations, Recommendations & Guidelines

It always pays to read the signs and heed their warnings. The National Park Service has posted this sign at Ocean Beach.

Finally, when one ventures out into the wilds, it is good to go equipped with some safety guidelines so we have linked to the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s page on Hiking Safety . In addition to the State Park’s safety rules, we have a few suggestions of our own.

  1. Always check the weather before you go out into nature. The difference between being prepared for weather conditions and not being prepared is the difference between having a pleasant adventure and having a miserable time.

  2. Be on the lookout for signs or bulletin boards where directions, warnings, and rules are posted. When you find any of these, read them.

  3. Obey all rules and heed all warnings. Most accidents that occur outdoors result from a failure to do so.

  4. Live by the universal rule of the great outdoors: Leave it better than you found it! Many people pick up a set number of pieces of trash each time they visit nature. They view this as a gesture of respect and gratitude for mother nature - a way of giving back. This would not be a bad habit to adopt.

That’s it for the rules and information. Now it’s time to get up and get out into nature. So be safe, have fun, and let us know how it goes.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks.” – John Muir