River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018

River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018
River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hiking on Balconies? - Tues., Sept. 9, 2014

Today we hiked on "balconies." Let me explain. Here is a Texas geography lesson for you. The information below is taken from a trail brochure produced by the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department.

Northwest Bexar (pronounced "bear") County near San Antonio, Texas, sits on the edge of the Edwards Plateau in a deeply eroded and dissected region known as the Texas Hill Country. Friedrich Wilderness Park, where we walked 2.5 miles today, lies on the Balcones Escarpment where the land rises abruptly from the Gulf Coast Plains to the Edwards Plateau in an area of dense faulting called the Balcones Fault Zone. This park lies above the Trinity/ Glen Rose Aquifer is on the contributing zone for the Edwards Aquifer, currently the primary source of drinking water for San Antonio and many other communities.

Kiosk photo of a karst where water enters the underground aquifer.
Water enters the aquifer through numerous karst features formed when groundwater dissolves sedimentary rock, such as limestone. Karst topography is terrain characterized by  subsurface and surface features such as springs, caves, sinkholes and seeps.

Diagram from Edwards Aquifer Authority
Two types of limestone are exposed within Friedrich Wilderness Park: (1) Edwards limestone (much of which has eroded away), and (2) the older Upper Glen Rose limestone which is composed of alternating harder and softer layers. The softer layers erode more rapidly, exposing large bands of the harder limestone. This gives the hills their terraced or balconied appearance; hence the Spanish name "Balcones."

Living in San Antonio, or anywhere in the Texas Hill Country for that matter, we love when it rains because the water seeps down into the aquifer, recharging it. When the aquifer falls below certain levels, water restrictions go into place.

Our hike in Friedrich Wilderness Park today took us through the lower level of the park. We didn't have as many steep hills as our Saturday 10K hike in the park.

Typical terrain in Friedrich Wilderness Park
We wear hiking boots in this park.
The 1/3 mile Water Trail section of the park is highlighted by one of the oldest working windmills in Bexar County which testifies to the presence of German settlers on the land that is now Friedrich Park.
One of the oldest working windmills
in Bexar County.
Susan on the trail ahead of me.
A walk in the park.
One of the reasons we completed this Volksmarch is to make sure it is 5K. Susan used her "Map My Walk" feature on her Smartphone. We found out the trail is only 4.4K, so an adjustment to the route needs to be made to change it to a 5K.

On Sunday, we will go back to Friedrich Park to re-walk the 10K Volksmarch with Map My Walk using the new directions (to account for recent changes in the park's trail system).

This morning when we drove to the park, we did not take into account we would be driving in rush hour traffic! Luckily, I went against traffic, but Susan M. got stuck in a traffic jam. We decided we will not walk so early on a week day from now on. This means we will have to wait for cooler weather to hike on week days so we can walk later in the morning. In the meantime, we will continue our weekend walks early.

After our walk, I showered and then went to Target, Pep Boys, and took my car to the car wash. Tomorrow is my appointment with the hairdresser before our six-week trip.

All for today. Have a good evening.


  1. You are a great travel guide. Ever thought about marketing yourself to travel agencies? Great job on this post.

    1. Actually, I worked at AAA for six years in Portland, Oregon as a travel counselor and trainer. For six months in Hawaii, I worked as a Tour Agent for a small tour company. Travel is my passion, don't you know??? LOL.Now if someone would just pay me to write and travel...

  2. I have developed a huge appreciation for Escarpments following our trip to Niagara Falls and along the Erie Canal last summer. . .and we then again saw the Niagara Escarpment this summer in Door County Wisconsin. . .

    I did NOT KNOW there was an Escarpment in Texas. . .will definitely be checking out that park at some point. . .thanks for sharing that great info.

    I am totally intrigued by them now. . .

    1. Yes, there surely is an escarpment here. The Texas Hill Country is on a big one. There is some dramatic scenery here.

  3. What a hike! Friedrick is a do not miss place!

    1. Friedrich Wilderness Park is a rugged side of San Antonio. Feels like you're in the mountains with the steep elevations, rugged footing, and trees.

  4. Limestone always livens up a landscape I think: might not have been the full 5K but 4.4K of beautiful nature ain't bad :-)


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