Along the Salado Greenway


So when we first went walking with the dog along the Salado Greenway from Hardberger Park a couple of weeks ago - that was about the first time that the very existence of the Salado Greenway percolated into our awareness. A neighbor had told us of the paved and graded trail from McAllister Park, and we had noticed the new trail-head when we took the dog to the dog park there. And looking down into the creek-bed from Nacogdoches road, as we crossed over Salado Creek . . . we had also noticed the boardwalk that ran the whole length of the creek, as far as could be seen from the road in the brief time that it took to drive over the bridge at 40 miles per hours. To our pleased surprise, we discovered that a leg of the Salado Greenway ran from McAllister Park, round in back of the San Antonio Airport.

To drive between those two points by road - along the Wurzbach Parkway and down Nacogdoches - they seem very far apart. But following the paved and curving trail, that wended a leisurely way beside and through the dry creek bed, it seemed hardly any distance at all. We found ourselves at the Ladybird Johnson trailhead after what seemed no more than a brisk and pleasant walk across a high grassy ridge, under the railway bridge that serves the line that runs parallel to Wetmore Road, and all along the boardwalk.

Not very far at all, and very pleasant on a Sunday morning; there were other people, hard-core runners, and bikers, and people with their families - on bicycles, or with dogs, or with bicycles and dogs, too. And sometimes, the dogs were even riding on the bicycles; in a carrier on the back of the bike or the bike's rider. It's probably the very best way to do the Salado Creekway trail with a small dog, especially on a warm day. After a bit, small dogs start to lag and give their owners the most tragic, bewildered looks: Why are you heartless humans torturing me this way? I believe the small-dog definition of a good walk is a five-minute walk around the block, not a prolonged doggie death-march of several miles.

At that point, we discovered that the very same trail went even farther - from Ladybird Johnson Park, all the way down to 410 to the new Tobin Park, just across the highway from the entrance to Los Patios. Last Sunday, we resolved to walk that leg of the trail . . . and oh, what a lovely excursion that turned out to be. Who could have guessed about how much hidden wilderness there is, right within metropolitan San Antonio - deep green forests of oak trees, oak and poplar and things that I don't even know the names of, although there are pictures of them as well as a helpful list of wildlife that might be encountered at each of the trailheads.

The Ladybird Johnson-Tobin leg is shaded pretty thickly most of the way along - and marvel of marvels, there are only a few stretches where you may actually see buildings - the tops of very tall ones, appearing above the woods, and the backsides of a couple of metal-siding structures along Nacogdoches Road . . . but otherwise, the road . . . er - the pathway goes ever on and an . . . until you get to 410 and have to find the secret passageway underneath the 410 to Tobin Park and to continue. One of our big future planned excursions is to walk all the way - from McAllister to the Southside. Of course, some of that way has yet to be built, but we'll be ready and fit when it is.