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Friday Slide Show: Thornton Beach Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

18 August 2023

As kids playing ball all day without adult supervision at Westlake Park, we had zero interest in walking up the hill to the Thornton Beach overlook. That close to the Pacific and all we cared about was jump shots, touchdowns and home runs.

Our life-long disdain for the place remains. The overlook is a short walk from a small parking lot and littered with cans and bottles. You look out over a valley beyond which the breakers hit the beach. But they aren't close.

On a clear day, you can see hang gliders riding the updrafts along the cliffs but most days are foggy and dismal and deserted except for dog walkers leading their packs along the mile-plus path down into the valley and back.

There is a stable nearby and the horses have left their calling cards on the trail, too. So not even the path is a pleasant diversion.

And it's dangerous. People are constantly falling to their deaths from the cliffs or drowning in the surf or getting buried in a landslide. The only time we heard about Thornton as kids was when someone perished.

You might wonder who this Thornton was whose name graces this spot. Nobody. He owned the 160 acres of the now state park in the 19h century. The whole unglamorous history of the area is available from the Daly City Public Library.

But this week we stopped by on our way to the skilled nursing facility we visit every day on the vague hope we could frame something interesting with our lens.

We didn't fall off the cliff or drown or get buried. Or find anything interesting either.

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