Hill Country Road Trip

Road Trip: Fredericksburg by Bulverde, Sisterdale and Luckenbach

by Celia Hayes

Some time ago, my daughter and I discovered the back road route from our North-East San Antonio home, to Boerne; basically, going up 281 to Route 46 and then west to Boerne. This last weekend, we went a step farther, by going north up Bulverde Road and bypassing the horrendous 1604-281 nexus entirely. Really, as they get closer and closer to completing the interchange, traffic just gets worse and worse. And once we got to Boerne, we decided to take Ranch Road 1376, or the Sisterdale Road north to the Pedernales Valley – this turned out to be a fantastic way to get to Fredericksburg; scenic, little traffic and just about as rapidly as by the highway … except for being tempted to stop at so many interesting places – even if it were only to take some pictures.

The first of these temptations was just outside old Bulverde, proper; a charming Victorian cottage painted in bright yellow with aqua-blue trim and shutters, with a low stone wall in front, and some old stone buildings behind. It’s actually the remains of the old Pieper homestead. Behind the cottage is a the original stone farmhouse, which has barely held on to it’s original shake roof, and the stone barn beyond it, which has not. The current owners are in the midst of restoring the Pieper house, which when first built was the largest stone house around. The house and barn, and the backyard – shaded by an immense oak tree – is currently being used as an event venue and the pretty cottage is a bed and breakfast. We pulled in to take some more pictures – and wound up getting a tour of the whole place. I only wish that I had enough money from my books to buy a place like it; it’s spectacular in a low-key kind of way.

On to Boerne – with a pit-stop at the Squirrel’s Nest for my daughter’s weekly thrift-shop fix – and into the Hill Country by way of Sisterdale. Sisterdale was one of the original German settlements founded by the Adelsverein pioneers – one of whom was the Baron Westphal, Karl Marx’s brother-in law. Today Sisterdale is a little string of a hamlet spread out for several blocks along the road, and distinguished by Sister Creek Vinyards, housed in an old cotton gin building, and the Sisterdale Dance Hall and event center. My daughter was more interested in the swap meet going on next to the Sisterdale Market … and I was interested in the market because it was housed in one of those old 1920’s era peak-roofed cottages, with bead-board paneling throughout – and it actually seemed to be a very complete and efficient little one-stop grocery. So – discouraged my daughter from making a bid for either of their two shop cats – and on up the road.

Luckenbach is the next hamlet of any distinction, mostly because of Willie and Waylon and the boys. Besides the dance hall and concert venue – another destination in itself, the Armadillo Farm campground sprawls alongside the road. It seemed pretty crowded this last Saturday, although since it was a long weekend, I should not have been surprised. We were tempted to stop in at Uptown Luckenbach, mostly so I could take a picture of the towering old factory building – mostly gone to rust, but still spectacular. There was also a souvenir shop on the grounds, but a hand-painted sign noted that sometimes it was a self-help arrangement. That afternoon was one of those times.

We did eventually get to Fredericksburg – but that is another story.

For all your San Antonio Real Estate needs, call Team Randy Watson of Mission Realty at 210-319-4960

Midsummer in the South Texas Garden

Our Midsummer San Antonio Garden Reveal

by Celia Hayes

At this point, we have about filled the back yard of my San Antonio home and the narrow strip running along the side of the house with just about everything it can hold; plants in the ground and plants in pots, or hanging from baskets from the edge of the back porch. Now my daughter has begun looking speculatively at the front of the house … which admittedly has begun to look a little neglected. Well, those parts not covered with enthusiastic plants are looking neglected. Five or six years ago, I planted one side of the driveway with mostly xeriscape plants, and things which I recall from Greece. There’s a small olive tree in the middle of it, with a fig tree, and two grapevines growing on metal obelisks, a pair of rose bushes, a lot of sage and rosemary, and one tall bay tree. It’s become pretty much a jumble, now, but a not unattractive jumble. It all thrives on whatever rain falls from the sky.

It’s the other side of the driveway, and the walk up towards the front door … that is the area which my daughter warns me is looking a bit slummy. “We don’t want to be ‘those people’ in that house,” she warns me, balefully. The Matterhorn of mulch supplied in the spring by the neighbor doing serious tree-trimming helped a little bit, but the bald fact remained – the length of walkway to the front porch borders a long skinny stretch of mulch with nothing much to break it up save a pair of wildly enthusiastic rose bushes and a small almond verbena tree. I had started a planting at the end – where the gate to the back garden opens, but the stretch in between it and the rose bushes looked … well, bare. And my daughter was struck by an idea when we saw some garden adornments on sale at Tuesday Morning. Among those items were some tall metal shepherd hooks, to hang plants from – very sturdy items and at a very good price.

Why not line the walk with four or five of these, and hang baskets of plants, and some bird-houses which she got at a yard sale a couple of weeks ago, and swap around the two birdbaths? Move the small concrete one out to the front, for the amusement of the birds, and the tall metal birth bath from where it had been to the middle of the garden in the back yard. So, ’twas done this morning, and with a humongous bag of potting soil, all the new hanging baskets were planted. We even added a new rain-gage to the eccentric collection of garden ornaments … one which I had been agonizing over at the Antique Rose Emporium. On Saturday they only had four left, so obviously I had to make a decision … and by this afternoon there was even some rain in it. At last I have been rewarded in planting the flame acanthus and agastache bushes, which between them have sprawled out a long way along the back fence. This week we have seen a pair of hummingbirds busily working their way along the red, and red-orange flowers, almost every morning and afternoon. They might even eventually discover the humming bird feeder, too…

How many useful and attractive plants can one cram into a small suburban garden? I don’t know yet, but we’re having fun finding out.

Garden Ridge Living

The Beauty of Garden Ridge Real Estate

by Randy Watson

Located about 19 miles north east of downtown San Antonio, Garden Ridge is a serene bedroom community with about 3,250 residents. Situated in Comal County, it has all the amenities of the big city without the hustle and bustle. It is the perfect solution for families seeking a residence in a peaceful area with easy access to the big city. Commuting to the city is a breeze given the proximity of Garden Ridge to Interstate 35 and is a quick trip to the airport. Though only about a little over seven square miles yet still have numerous sub-divisions. Some examples of Garden Ridge real estate include: Georg Ranch, 7 Hills Ranch, Wild Winds, Park Lane Estates, Oak Meadows Estates, Forest Waters Creekview, Ramble Ridge, Wild Wind, Trophy Oaks, Arrowood Estates, Regency Oaks and the Enclave of Garden Ridge.

Home prices start around $300,000 and most homes are situated on spacious lots which afford privacy as well as enough space for even large families. The average household income in Garden Ridge was at $128,000 in 2011. The community is served primarily by Comal Independent School District. The high school is Canyon High School. A new school, Garden Ridge Elementary, has recently started functioning and this institution was recently the recipient of an “exemplary” rating from the Texas Education Agency. (As with any school information, please confirm with the school district the schools that service homes you intend to purchase.)

Garden Ridge has an interesting history which can be traced back to the mid-17th century. Native American Indians, Spanish, and German settlers all made this region their home at some time or the other. The coming of the railroad to the region saw a drastic rise in the development activity in the locality. Garden Ridge was incorporated in 1972 and at the time was populated predominantly by descendants of early German settlers. Many longtime residents have numerous anecdotes to share with newcomers to the community. This is just another way to make people feel welcome.

The community has many churches in the area, including: Triumphant Lutheran Church, Bracken United Methodist, Northeast Bible Church, Garden Ridge Church of Christ, Garden Ridge Community Church and Covenant Baptist Church. Bracken Village and Rolling Oaks Mall are the two major shopping destinations in the vicinity. The former is a haven of small shops and restaurants that remind one of life in the 19th century. Restaurants in the Garden Ridge area cater to a variety of tastes and offer authentic American cuisine along with Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and German specialties. They range from fast food chains to exclusive restaurants with appropriate décor and lighting.

Nature is bountiful in Garden Ridge and this is illustrated at the exquisitely landscaped Paul Davis Park. There is a significant deer population in the area which speaks volumes about the emphasis laid on the need for a green environment in the midst of modern living and development. The open spaces with rolling hills and numerous canyons provide a lot of opportunity for outdoor recreation and family activities.

The Bracken caves, home to the famous Bat Cave, are close by and are home to the world’s largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats The Natural Bridge Caverns are yet another natural attraction just outside of Garden Ridge. Hundreds of calcite formations, that have taken shape over centuries, can be seen here. The Natural Wildlife Ranch is another great place for family outings. Children and adults alike get to experience wild and exotic animals up close and learn more about them.

Numerous annual events are held in Garden Ridge and nearby. These range from the Easter Egg Hunt to the Summer Music Camp to Comal County Fair, Wurstfest and Oktoberfest. Caroling in the Caverns at Natural Bridge Caverns is an event unique to the area. Community participation ensures that bonhomie and camaraderie is rejuvenated on a regular basis.

The community has its own police department and the water company is city-owned. As a courtesy, the Garden Ridge police department will conduct house checks for owners who are going to be out of town and also does home security surveys for home owners. There is also a new community center which can be used for rentals and other community events.

Northeast Methodist Hospital is the biggest medical center in the area. Those with interests in volunteering or civic activities, there are organizations such as the Garden Ridge Lions Club, Garden Ridge Women’s Club, the Garden Ridge Republican Club and the Bracken Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary. The Forest waters Lodge is a good place for families while Awanas Club is for the kids.

San Antonio Dog Friendly Condos for Sale

A Dog-Friendly List of San Antonio Condos for Sale

Check out my new San Antonio dog-friendly Condo list.

by Randy Watson

Hi, my name is Randy Watson and I am a self-confessed dog lover. I am also a real estate agent with Mission Realty, in San Antonio.

Texans love their dogs and cats… and here in San Antonio we are no exception. Dogs and cats are loved everywhere, except it gets a little tricky when it comes to buying real estate that accepts your pets. Especially when looking to buy: condominiums, townhomes and villas; since each may have its own rules and regulations regarding pets. Single family homes have fewer, if no restrictions regarding pets. (A word of caution, some HOA’s, even towns/cities may have dog restrictions.)

Moving to a new area, whether across town or across the country is stressful enough, especially, if you have pets. It can be frustrating to fall in love with the perfect home, only to learn that your fur-baby is too big or weighs over the condo complex limit. As a lifelong dog owner, I enjoy helping buyers and sellers who have pets with all their real estate needs. (I don’t want you to think we’re just limited to dogs and cats… if you have other animals, we can help with them too. Not many condos allow Longhorns, though… How about a nice farm or ranch for sale? ) My team of agents and I can help you find a dog friendly condo community that will welcome you and your dogs.


Many condominiums for sale in San Antonio allow pets, but, even so, it may not be exact the right condo for you and your furry friend. I happen to think that dogs need to have lots of green space. Just because the Condo board rules allow pets, doesn’t mean that is the right place for you and your dog. A condo that is a building in the middle of a parking lot with little to no grass or trees, doesn’t have a lot to offer for your dog, unless there are some nature trails or they are next to a park.

Some condos allow pets, but what they really mean is that they don’t really want pets. So you find out the rule is you must carry your dog through the lobby. (That’s pure craziness.) Or they only allow cats or non-shedding dogs under 12lbs. Don’t get frustrated, there are many San Antonio pet-friendly condos complexes that not only allow big dogs, but maybe allow 2 or 3 dogs, too.

Me and my hound, Milo (actually he’s an Australian Shepherd) are hunting down San Antonio condos for sale that not only allow pets, but welcome them with pet-centered amenities such as dog runs, dog wash tubs, and poop-bag dispensers near the potty areas. Maybe the condo complex has a nice dog park or trails nearby. We’ll check it out and see if we get the 2 paws up from my dog, Milo.

I’ve started creating a list of San Antonio dog-friendly condos for sale. It is by far, not a complete list and I’ll add to it as I find out more. If you happen to live in or know about a San Antonio dog-friendly condo please let me and Milo know and we will add your condo to our list.


Put us to work to find you a San Antonio condo for sale that fits you, your pets and your lifestyle. We are condo specialists, we specialize in Medical Center condos for sale, Alamo Heights condos, New Braunfels condos or downtown San Antonio condos for sale.

Call Team Randy Watson at 210-319-4960 to help find you a San Antonio Dog-Friendly Condo.

Water in the Creek

Water in the Creek, Progress in the Garden

by Celia Hayes

Search online for all your San Antonio Real Estate Needs

Well, it’s been another quiet week in Spring Creek Forest, the little suburb that time forgot… I am improving my little patch of it as fast as I can and as the growing season allows. We were assisted last week by rain… lots and lots of rain. There actually was running water in Salado Creek. And since it was running over the path, we needed to wade through it – up to our shins, and with a perceptible current, too. Yes, we like to walk on the wild side, what with the mad risk-taking and all. The Weevil thoroughly enjoyed a romp through the water, and when she flushed a couple of ducks from the wetlands by the Morningstar boardwalk, her doggy heart overflowed with pure contentment. She didn’t come anywhere near actually catching a duck, though – that would have been a miracle of practically biblical dimensions.

The garden is doing very well, what with the rain, and the unseasonable warmth. The citrus in pots are blooming, and so is the wisteria – which only blooms for one week out of the year, and then sulks for the other fifty-one. The pot that my daughter thought to plant with an assortment of specially flavored mint plants has – as expected – thrived so thoroughly that there is very little of the pot itself actually visible. The artichoke, burdock and cardoons that I planted in pots some weeks ago are also thriving … There is a bare patch in the yard, where I’d love to have a patch of artichokes. I love artichokes, and to be able to pop out to the garden and pick them fresh would be fantastic. All they are is big, edible thistles, after all. We started this last weekend with some small artichoke plants, along with a blue-flowered salvia for variety, and some lambs’ ears for luck and hopefully to spread along the edge of the bed. Should they all grow and thrive, the bigger ones in pots will join them.

This week, we ventured out to the Antique Rose Emporium to see what they had for vegetable starts. It’s almost too late now for the lettuces and such, too early for beans and eggplant … but the right time for the exotic heirloom tomatoes, of which they had plenty and an amazing variety. I knew that tomatoes came in yellow, but brown, and purple? Oh my. Now to get some more topsy-turvys … we have space on the hanging frame for at least another three or four. The dozen tomato plants that we started some weeks ago are just now shyly putting out blooms. They are the ordinary sort of early tomatoes, and this time we got them in better condition than last year’s … which were priced half-off and nearly dead when we put them in the topys-turvys, but still did well.

Last week, HEB had cucumber and zucchini starts for $1.00 each – so here we go with starting six of them in the last earth-box. Zucchini plants are supposed to produce in overwhelming quantities, which has never been my personal experience, but I’m an optimist. I live in hope of bulging bags of zucchini that I will be able to leave on neighbors’ doorsteps, after ringing the doorbell and running away. And this morning … we had an idea to build a raised bed from treated timbers, and expand the vegetable-growing area. There is a place around the back of the house where the soil is so full of little chunks of rock and concrete rubble from when the house was built that a raised bed full of good soil is the only hope. Next year, maybe…


Here is a Healthy New Years Resolution

Take a Hike

Forty-Plus Texas State Parks to Offer Hikes on New Year’s Day as Part of National Program

Written by: Bryan Frazier, Texas State Parks Media Contact (512) 826-8703, bryan.frazier@tpwd.state.tx.us

Committing to a healthier lifestyle continues to be one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for millions of Americans. And this year, Texas State Parks are providing more than 40 places where folks can do just that—many of which are located close to major metro areas.

 As part of the national umbrella First Day Hikes program set forth by the National Association of State Parks Directors (NASPD), 48 state parks across Texas are scheduled to offer a wide variety of hikes and nature walks this New Year’s Day.

“Hiking outdoors is great to do any time, and a novel way to ring in 2012, especially with a group or as a family,” said Chris Holmes, director of interpretation for Texas State Parks. “Hiking not only gets people outdoors to experience nature, but it’s also healthy. Participating in a First Day hike is a good opportunity to begin a New Year’s resolution for healthier living right off the bat.”

The concept of having an official “First Day Hike” in a park on New Year’s Day originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts, with the intent to promote both wellness and year-round recreation at parks. Since then, other states have offered similar New Year’s programs; however, this is the first time all 50 state park systems have joined together to officially sponsor First Day Hikes.

 “What better way to kick off the New Year than with a hike at a state park?” said Ruth Coleman, President of NASPD. “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle for the whole family. Whether folks are staying close to home or traveling, they can join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day, just about anywhere in the country.”

First Day Hikes vary in difficulty and fitness levels, and range from short, leisurely nature walks through forested trails and along boardwalks, to special bird watching hikes, to climbs into the mountains of the Chihuahuan Desert. Most all hikes will be guided by state park staff and volunteers and feature an interpretive message about native plants, animals or park history. The walks average one to two miles in length, but many also offer shorter or longer trek options as well.

Participants will want to make some modest advance preparations. Some hikes warrant call-ahead reservations, and in most instances, folks will want to wear sturdy shoes, and bring drinking water and a hiking stick. Park entrance fees apply in most places, and many parks are leading the First Day Hike at no extra cost.

Recent on-site visitor surveys in Texas parks revealed that hiking and trails were the No. 1 most sought-after amenity by park visitors. And according to State Parks Director Brent Leisure, hikers in the Lone Star State have even more incentives to be outside come year’s end.

 “Outdoor recreation during the holidays has been a popular activity for a long time, and here in Texas, it makes even more sense because the weather is often mild enough to do most anything. And many of our parks have either just completed or are in the process of renovating and improving their hike and bike trails. We’re proud to offer folks a lot of choices with an organized network of First Day Hikes, and proud that we have so many wonderful places in our state park system for people to enjoy them. ”

For more information about First Day Hikes in Texas State Parks, visit the Web site athttp://www.texasstateparks.org/firstdayhikes, where you’ll find detailed hike locations, descriptions, and park contact information. Or, visit the NASPD Web site at http://www.americasstateparks.org for nationwide information on First Day Hikes.


Texans Vacation in Park City Utah

What Park City, Utah Has to Offer to the Texas Vacationer

by Ben Fisher

There is nothing more that Texans love than stepping out of their hometown for a vacation that is filled with the highest levels of luxury and comfort, and that is exactly what a vacation to Park City, Utah offers. Park City, Utah is a mountain community that features three world class resorts that is an oasis of beauty and a hub of outdoor activities. Park City offers the Texan a truly memorable vacation, whether it during the summer months or winter, and for the ski enthusiast, there is not a greater place on earth to vacation than Park City. Whether from Austin to El Paso, Houston to San Antonio, Paris to Dallas, Pampa to Midland and all parts in between, Texans love vacationing in Park City, Utah.

Deer Valley Resort is one of Park City’s resorts and is a premier alpine ski resort that has been ranked #1 in North America. The resort is a prestigious ski resort that features perfectly groomed slopes and outstanding services with many of them award winning such as their professional ski school and their exceptional dining. The resort also offers outstanding award winning services such as a ski valet and one of the most luxurious and comfortable lodges in North America. Park City is a mountain community, and aside from the three world class resorts, there are many rental properties throughout the resort community that feature ski -in and ski-out properties and much more. While

Park City is the premier destination for ski vacations, some resorts such as Deer Valley prohibit snowboarding. Winter months in the area are filled with fine dining, warm fires, exceptional skiing, snowmobiling, shopping and hiking. The area also offers exquisite nightlife with many restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues that give the Texan plenty of options for evening activities.

Park City is home to over 100 restaurants that provide every type setting and atmosphere. The pubs and clubs and wine bars line historic Main Street and provide the after-hours nightlife that many Texans enjoy. Live theatre is another of the highlights of Park City and those visiting the area will enjoy the historic Egyptian Theatre on Main Street.

During the summer months, Texans will enjoy exceptional outdoor activities that include swimming, biking, hiking, shopping, cuisine, nightlife, big name band concerts, arts festivals, and the Alpine Slide Park. In fact, the Alpine Slide at Park City Mountain Resort features a 3,000 foot of track slide, which qualifies it as one of the world’s longest slides, and one that the park has become quite famous for.

The ZipRider is another highlight of Alpine Slide and is a ride that takes you over the tops of trees 100 feet in the air at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. Park City, Utah, is something for everyone, and Texans will find pure luxury and enjoyment whether it staying at one of their world class resorts, the Deer Valley Resort, the Park City Mountain Resort, or The Canyons Resort, or a private rental within the mountain community. A vacation to Park City, Utah sets that standard in what a vacation should be and will offer the Texan the fine luxuries that we so much enjoy.

Call Ben Fisher for Park City Real Estate or Deer Valley Real Estate at 435-962-0192.


Rural in the City

Rural In the City-Voelker Dairy Farm

by Celia Hayes

Within living memory, much of modern, built-up and suburban San Antonio was confined to well within the 410 Loop. I have friends not very much older than myself who can recall Nacodoches Road as a two-lane country road, doddling off into farmlands in the upland north of town, and those friends of my parents’ age remember that the airport was away the heck and gone in the middle of nowhere, and Broadway at 410 was a dirt road. Here and there remain small islands and patches of rural activity: stone and frame houses of an earlier age, surrounded with crumbling outbuildings which once were barns and stables, marooned on a little patch of land while the tide of suburbia has all but engulfed all else.

When I first moved to north-east San Antonio, there was a riding stable on Judson road, next to the Sam’s Club: it is now closed and the land on the market, but there are two more stables which offer boarding and riding lessons that I know of, embedded in established neighborhoods: Oakwell Farms and Turkey Creek Stables. Kind of surprising to encounter these establishments, when tooling down an urban street, but there you are.

Now, one of the most significant rural enterprises remaining within San Antonio is embedded in Phil Hardberger Park, just about where Blanco intersects with the Wurzbach Parkway: more than three hundred acres of undeveloped wood and pastureland which formed the Voelcker Farm – a working dairy farm which was still operating under the original owner until just a decade or two ago. The farmhouse, the original farmhouse, the barns and outbuildings . . . and some urban cows are still there, as part of the park. Just last weekend there was a ‘Dairy Day’ event, aimed at educating children who may be a little uncertain as to where milk actually comes from (you mean, it doesn’t just magically appear in a plastic gallon jug on the supermarket shelf?) and their parents, who may also be a little shaky on the concept.

The old farm complex is right next to the start of a section of the Salado Creek Greenway. Elements of the park and the trail are still under construction, and the older buildings, which are as historic as they are dilapidated, are scheduled for repair and renovation. Certainly one of the barns leans as much to one side as the old frame building on Josephine Street which used to house the Liberty Bar; one good sneeze or the next high wind might bring it down entirely.

The old stone homestead was built onto with a frame addition; even so, it was still pretty small, although at one point in the 20th century it evidently housed someone, as there was a rusting TV antenna attached to the central chimney.Alas, I arrived very late in the event: there was supposed to be a demonstration of milking a cow, and feeding calves, but by ten o’clock the cows were empty and the calves were full. The calves had retreated to an out-of-the-way corner in back of the most dilapidated barn, but the cows were mooching around in front. This, I think, must have been their most interesting day in months, but they didn’t really seem to be interested in it. Cows are not exactly the life of the party animals.

The Alamo Area Master Naturalists were there, handing out information on their classes, and little packets of native plant seeds and bluebonnet seeds, and also some flyers from the National Wildlife Federation, encouraging the planting of locally native plants. According to the Hardberger Park website, one of the long-time goals is to restore the original oak and meadow habitat – which is now quite overgrown with cedars and other invading species.







San Antonio Park Greenway

Return to the San Antonio Park’s Greenway

by Celia Hayes

Over last winter and spring, we were in the habit of taking our dogs with us and hiking stretches of the Salado Way – sometimes the portion between the old Voelcker Farm and Huebner Road – or along various lengths between McAllister Park south to where it peters out after crossing Rittiman Road near the north-east corner of Fort Sam. Some day, when all the segments are one long continuous stretch, from the North Side all the way down to the Mission Park on the South side, it will be a fantastic adventure to walk or bike the whole thing. Until that day comes, we’ll just have to pick and choose.

The last time we did this – in May, I think – we went from the McAllister Park trailhead, all the way down to Los Patios restaurant (enjoy dog friendly dining) and back. No, it was not possible to carry enough water for both of us and the dog, and the last half mile or so was an endless, broiling-in-the-sun and not-a-scrap-of shade misery. We gave it up until the cooler weather of fall . . . which, darn it, still hasn’t arrived to the point where we can turn off the AC and open the windows, but at least it rained a bit over the weekend, just when I am about sure that everyone in San Antonio had absolutely forgotten what the stuff looked like.

So on Sunday morning we went to Ladybird Park and walked to Tobin, seeing if there was any water from the rain filling up the various stagnant pools which appear at intervals in the dry-as-a-desert-bone creek-bed, to admire what autumn color there was, if any – and finally, and most importantly, to see if the link underneath 410 had been completed. In the spring, they were just building up the forms for the concrete roadway to go underneath the highway overpass, and link up the two segments of the trail.

Otherwise, one had to make a long trek along the access road to Starcrest Road, cross over and trek back to Tobin Park . . . or what most hikers and cyclists did, which was to pick a careful way down into what was essentially an open storm drain, cross underneath, and scramble up the other side. It was rather icky, picking a way through the trash and the mud and flotsam cast up underneath the overpass. Anyway – we were looking forward to the newly constructed, completely safe, legal and relatively clean passageway and we were not disappointed. It was open, in use, and there were two city workers, collecting up whatever had been washed down in the most recent rain. The far side was beautifully sloped, edged with limestone blocks, and landscaped. What is that strange, lush, green stuff covering the ground? I do believe it is new grass . . . which I have nearly forgotten about.

There were lots of cyclists – this must be one of the favorite venues; certainly one of the few where there is no danger of being walloped by a car or truck, unless you are not paying attention at those few places where it does cross a thoroughfare on the same level. There were some autumn leaves turning to gold, red and brown . . . although in a few cases we were worried that those leaves weren’t an autumn-brown, they were a pining-for-the-fjords, deader-than-doornail brown. So, that was my weekend – what was yours?


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