I have a decent road bike sitting at home, and have taken advantage of many of the urban trails around the city, so what was I doing here?
Chances are you know the project by its suffix: The Museum Reach, the Downtown Reach, the Mission Reach (and to a lesser extent) the Eagleland Project – are components of a long-term program to restore more than a dozen miles of the San Antonio River north and south of downtown.
The most recent portion of the Mission Reach (which starts at South Alamo, and will eventually extend all the way to Mission Espada) opened at the end of March, and runs from Padre Park down toward Mission San Juan.
Back in 2009, when the preliminary portion of the Museum Reach opened that connected the Pearl to downtown, I couldn't get enough of it. Walking it was fine, but there was nothing like speeding through its twisty, technical path on two wheels. But as more runners, walkers, and tourists took to it, things got a little tight, and it was better to take heed, than speed.
So, since then I'd been heading to the Blue Star Complex, where the Mission Reach starts. The paths here are wider and more consistent, the terrain and scenery much more open. I'd ridden up to Riverside Golf Course, but had no idea what lied beyond. So, when a few hours opened up on a weekday afternoon, I grabbed my camera, and headed south to see what I could see. And it was pretty darn awesome.
Along the trail are vast swaths of greenery, due in part to the re-introduction of native vegetation, and a goal of fostering a more positive environment for wildlife.
Water features and young trees - 20,000 of which are expected to be planted along the eight mile segment.
Bridges, and wildflower lined paths that go on for miles...
And believe it or not, actual people out hiking and biking in the middle of a workday afternoon! And that's a good thing, since aside from general restoration, one of the major components in the grand scheme of things, is to increase general recreation along the waterway. Aside from cyclists, walkers and runners, don't be surprised to see anglers, birdwatchers, and even folks in canoes and kayaks in designated areas.
Even if you're out for a relaxing walk, it's hard not to find inviting features along the way. Like the contrast in this simple sign...
The beauty of repetition...
And the view from a nearby picnic table...
I cruised around a bit on my trusty B Cycle, until we came upon this sign.
Which was too bad, because we were having such a good time. But the good news is, according to an adjacent sign, we'll have even more bike paths and trails to enjoy in November, when the section past Mission San Juan opens up. Since the mission was just around the corner, it seemed worthy of a quick visit on foot.
This is where the adventure ended today but it's not over yet. We look forward to more!
For more information on SARIP, including maps and updates, click here.
Tom Trevino is a writer, artist and wellness coach based out of San Antonio. His column, “The Feed,” addresses health and fitness issues and dispense practical advice for San Antonians attempting to wade through the often-confusing diet and fitness world. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas, with training and certification from the Cooper Institute. He has a fondness for dogs, the New York Times, and anything on two wheels. When he’s not writing, training, or cooking, you can find him wandering the aisles of Central Market.