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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