San Antonio’s new greenway trails provide a perspective of the metropolis we otherwise could zoom past

San Antonio’s new greenway trails provide a perspective of the metropolis we otherwise could zoom past

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&#13 The Howard Peak Greenway system offers a way for San Antonians to experience their city on foot. - BILL BAIRD

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  • &#13 The Howard Peak Greenway technique features a way for San Antonians to expertise their town on foot.&#13
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Encouraged by the city’s network of greenway trails, I established out to do what seemed illogical, difficult or just simple idiotic: circumnavigating San Antonio on foot, utilizing the newly christened Howard Peak Greenway process.

Where the trails ended, I’d go on alongside creek beds, roadsides, vacant heaps and railroad tracks. &#13
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Has the perimeter of SA ever been thru hiked? It seemed I’d be amongst the initial, which manufactured the trek an irresistible focus on, and just ridiculous enough to be interesting. Or most likely just insane. &#13
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“You’re carrying out what?” people today responded to my prepare, as if I’d introduced an intention to try to eat my shoes. “Why not bike, push or just sit and chill at house?”&#13
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The good reasons to stroll are several. It’s meditative, your brain unwinds, your anxiousness ebbs and you really feel a grateful reverence. In the terms of the conquer poet Gary Snyder, “Walking is the wonderful adventure, the first meditation, a follow of heartiness and soul major to humankind. Strolling is the correct balance concerning spirit and humility.”&#13
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That may perhaps sound a little bit lofty. Real truth is, I really do not genuinely know San Antonio, getting just lately moved again listed here soon after a 20-calendar year absence. In my expertise, you fully grasp an place very best by foot. Walking forces you to contemplate the spots we normally zoom past in our cars and trucks. 
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The roar of the targeted visitors
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My journey began by mountaineering the entirety of Leon Creek. Leon Valley was when the outer edge of the Western frontier — the 1st watering stop alongside the old San Antonio-to-El Paso phase highway.&#13
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“There have been indeed a lot of mountain lions in the location,” Carol Poss, Leon Valley’s unofficial historian, explained to me before I set out. She grew up on a dairy farm there. “The mountain lion is the official seal of Leon Valley.”&#13
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Indeed, the term “leon” is Spanish for lion. Even though I observed no mountain lions on my trek, I did location countless deer. &#13
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The trail commenced behind La Cantera Parkway, along the edge of a procuring mall. Duck down powering the JC Penney there and you have entered a diverse earth: aged rock quarries, caves, cliffs and native plants galore. All those treasures, nevertheless, are not obvious from the road. &#13
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The trail handed beneath familiar roads — Vance Jackson Road, Huebner Highway, Bandera Road — the roar of the mountain lion now changed by the roar of visitors. Shed in thought, I puzzled the origin of those people road names. Turns out, Huebner Street was named for Joseph Huebner, an early Leon Valley resident, whose dwelling was a stagecoach end. It’s now a public park and spot on area ghost tours.


The creek will continue to be
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All around the sixth mile of my stroll, I descended from the Balcones escarpment’s rocky ledges to the alluvial soils of the Blackland prairie. The spectacular native vegetation alongside the way altered as properly, with trees whose Spanish names must be common to San Antonians – the olmos (cedar elm), alamo (cottonwood), huisache and roble (oak).&#13
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As Leon Creek passes by means of O.P. Schnabel Park, chalky cliffs rise from its financial institutions. I remaining the formal pathway, mountaineering the creek bed itself, dropped in a reverie. The parking plenty and strip malls up above, I understood, at some point will disappear. Could possibly get a hundred many years, could acquire a thousand, but they will just one day — poof — vanish, while the creek will stay on, nevertheless carving its meandering path throughout Bexar County. &#13
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My head drifted into the clouds, and my reveries were being these that I skipped the Armed forces Highway trailhead, continuing downstream into unfamiliar territory. No trails there. I crawled under barbed wire, dodged automobiles, skirted a h2o-procedure plant, sprinted across personal assets and stumbled my way to Martinez Park’s Arvil trailhead 22 miles down.
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‘Exhilarating pile of garbage’
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From Martinez Park, I adopted the creek mattress till Lackland AFB, where by I skirted the base’s fence-line alongside Medina Foundation Highway, and finally summited the wonderful hilltop at Pearsall Park. The huge, grassy hill seemed, properly, a little bit out of position.&#13
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Just after some on line sleuthing, I understood the hill was a rehabbed landfill, “the most exhilarating pile of rubbish in the area,” reporter Jeremy Gerlach after wrote in the Categorical-Information. Regardless of its origins, Pearsall Park proved to be a neat expertise that supplied a wonderful perspective of downtown. Advisable.&#13
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At that point, I could observe Leon Creek again — until the trail’s conclusion, anyway.
I ducked below a bridge and emerged in some untouched meadows, sooner or later crossing several highways and traversing quite a few miles of farm roadways. Inspite of the city’s bold statements of a linked sequence of trails, there is a substantial gap in Southwest San Antonio. This element of town sorely requires trails, greenways and parks, not just far more housing developments.&#13
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The last mile down to the Medina River ran alongside Highway 16. My legs were being throbbing, my ft protected in blisters, my hair wild, my smile large and my eyes opened to the sheer dimensions of the town to which I have returned. I’d hiked 37 miles in two days across the western edge of the city.&#13
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Our metropolis is blessed with superb parks, historic creekbeds, blooming native plants, sun-scorched rocks, intriguing frontier historical past, colonial ruins and sufficient space to walk alone with your views. You simply cannot grasp it from the window of your motor vehicle, even though, and it can not be gleaned 2nd hand. To encounter all it has to offer you, you have to get out there and find it for oneself — beneath the freeways, driving the parking lots.&#13
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It’s your town — go discover it.&#13
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