Fireworks on Alcatraz

This week ahead I’ll be taking the editor of Pacific Horticulture magazine on a tour of the Gardens of Alcatraz as a follow-up to my soon-to-be-published essay, and realized I never posted from my last visit to The Rock. Don’t quite know how I managed to not post pix from the Fourth of July on Alcatraz yet! Seems like at least once or twice a year, a fun and unusual opportunity arises for volunteers on the island. Sometimes it’s barbecues, sometimes special tours and overnighting in a cell. This year a ranger invited all the island’s volunteers and staff to bring two guests out on the 4th of July fireworks!

It was a fantastic day. Everyone arrived by late afternoon, and we got to wander the island until the last of the paying visitors had left. Then we all broke out our packed-in meals for picnic dinner on the dock and 21 varieties of cake and pie courtesy of our host. Then we had a plethora of specialized behind-the-scenes guided tours to select from. I went along on a tour of tunnels under the island to learn the stories of some of the places I had explored only on my own before. Quite fun, I must say. Tony and I, and our guest Patrick from work, explored what’s growing in the gardens and enjoyed the evening.

Around 930 the fireworks started from two barges along the San Francisco waterfront. SF sets up two synchronized fireworks displays because of the size of the crowds – one off Pier 39 and one off Fort Mason. It was a remarkably fogless night, and we had the perfect view of both shows! Shelagh posted about it on the Alcatraz Gardens blog, too. What a night. Then we got dumped back at the piers on the mainland later that night and joined the masses trudging home. I love these special perks that come with volunteering!

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