The Biloxi Mississippi Lighthouse at sunset on November 10, 2021. © Susan Alton, 2021

The Biloxi Mississippi Lighthouse at sunset on November 10, 2021. © Susan Alton, 2021
The Biloxi Mississippi Lighthouse at sunset on November 10, 2021. © Susan Alton, 2021

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Zoeller Creek Trail 10k Volksmarch and Waring VFD Fish Fry - Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween! 

I gave Andy Thomas, our friend (and Texas Volkssport Association secretary), a ride to Waring Hall for the walk today. We had a little adventure on the way there. As we tried to get onto I-10 from I-410 in San Antonio, Texas, the whole freeway was at a standstill. There had been signs warning that I-410 was closed at Ingram, but that was miles on the other side of I-10. We were only about 1/2 mile from I-10, but in ten minutes we did not move one car length toward the I-10 ramp. 

There was an on-ramp to I-410 a few feet behind me and a whole bunch of us backed off the freeway and onto the access road. From there, we took surface streets to find our way to I-10. We lost about 20 minutes of our morning trying to get around whatever was going on at the freeway interchange. We had an hour-long drive to Waring.

Fall is in the air! This morning's temperature was a chilly 47 degrees F. in Waring. The temperature in the Hill Country is about ten degrees cooler than in San Antonio. Gloves would have been nice because my hands were quite cold.

When we arrived in Waring a little after 9 am, the Volunteer Fire Department was setting up for the Fish Fry which would take place from 11 am to 3 pm. The Fish Fry is by donation only. They put out Firemen's boots and you put whatever money in the boots you would like to donate.

Waring Volunteer Fire Department
setting up for their annual Fish Fry lunch.

Andy and I signed in for the walk and set out in the historic area of Waring (about four blocks). Then we walked on country roads for the remainder of the time.

An old windmill from Chicago's
Aermotor Co.

Waring's historic gas station and 
general store.


Old advertising signs on
the side of the general store.

The Waring Schoolhouse. The first
wing was built in 1891.


Waring Church.

That's it for the town, except for the homes and a post office. I don't know what the population is currently.

We followed the walk arrows and streamers out into the countryside. Birds were chirping, we had a slight breeze, and plenty of shade from the trees lining the road. Andy and I took a small detour to get photos of the Guadalupe River. The cypress trees lining the river make beautiful reflections.

Cypress trees along the Guadalupe River.

The Guadalupe River.

Andy coming off the bridge 
over the river.



From the road alongside the river, we turned off onto a road through farmland. We never did see Zoeller Creek (which the road is named for)!

Maybe a ruffed grouse? 

Wow! There were a lot of people
behind us!

We hadn't seen anyone for the first
mile of the walk or so and then, boom,
a whole slew of people!

Linda and Pat volunteer at
the first checkpoint.

The Texas Hill Country.

The cow grate has a sign that
says, "Whoa, Nelly!"

A chukar. (Thank you to Garry Speir
for the I.D.!)

Just a long, straight road to our
checkpoint.

The hay is all neatly rolled up.

Now we're back along the river.


The Guadalupe River.

Andy carefully crossed a cow grate.

This historic block home is getting a
large addition!

Country road.

More walkers coming toward us.

After the paved roads, we turned off into pastureland and walked on a grass road. It felt nice and soft under our feet.

Grass road.

The walk marker had a
pumpkin decoration on it.

This was a pretty feather.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsis).
Ellen Ott and Louise at the 
second checkpoint.

There's a lot of lamb and beef on 
the hoof here.

This cow has an interesting face. 


I love this big log home.

As we walked this morning, Andy and I kept hearing gunshots. When we arrived at the sign below, we realized what we had been hearing.


Like horses back to the barn, Andy and I didn't waste any time getting back to the fish fry, which was now open. We had a very good lunch and then headed home.

The Fish Fry put on by Waring's
Volunteer Fire Department.



I should mention that the line for the fish fry was a block long by the time we drove away. People come from far and wide for the VFD Fish Fry!

This was another really good walk put on by the Hill Country Volkssportverein club. 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Road Less Traveled - Saturday, October 30, 2021

On a cool Texas Hill Country morning, Bob and I set out on the 11k Welfare Cafe Walk. First, we had to check in at the Waring VFD Hall. We then drove to the now-abandoned Welfare Cafe where we parked to do our 11k walk.  

The first portion of the walk was along the Waring Welfare Rd., a two-lane, country highway with no sidewalks. When cars came along, we walked on the weedy shoulder of the road. In about 1/2 mile, we turned onto a gravel country road. And I do mean country. 


We had to let ourselves through two different gates designed to keep the "loose livestock" from wandering off. There were also cow guards to cross that had the bars on them. You know, the ones that make a lot of noise when you run over them.

Anyway, we had a beautiful, cool morning and very little vehicle activity on the road less traveled along Little Joshua Creek. Most walkers started at 8 am, but we took our time this morning to let it warm up a little bit from 53 degrees. The 9 am hour worked for us. As we were heading out, we met up with a group heading back.


This was a quiet, bucolic walk. A number of deer were out this morning, and we saw a flock of turkeys deep in the shadows of the trees. 


Little Joshua Creek was picturesque in the morning light. There was a side creek that came into Little Joshua Creek as well. Both creeks had small dams on them.

Little Joshua Creek. You can see the 
flood gauge on the side of the road.

Flash flooding is a big problem in Texas. When we get 1" to 6" of rain in a short period of time, it doesn't have time to soak into the ground. If it's raining hard and the creek starts to rise, heed the admonition, "Turn around, don't drown." It doesn't take much water to wash your car away with you in it! Looking at the creeks today, the word "languid" comes to mind. No roaring torrents here.

Here is the side creek. 


Another view of the side creek.

We took the road less traveled to the right.

Little Joshua Creek crossing.

Little Joshua Creek.

Time to be on the lookout for
loose livestock.

The way was nicely shaded!

A couple of big, old, dead trees. I'm 
hoping they support owls and woodpeckers.

Bob is working to get a gate open.

On the other side of this gate was our first staffed checkpoint. Our start cards were punched and we each had a slice of apple provided by the local club. I also had a cherry Tootsie Roll Pop which lasted all the way to the next checkpoint.

The cow in the photo below was very camera shy. I didn't think I got a picture of it, but lo and behold here it is. As soon as I raised my camera to take the shot, this young cow took off like a shot. 


I think the young cow ran to mama!

Lucky shot. This bird just caught breakfast!
I think it's an Eastern phoebe.

The cow family kept me in their sights.

Huisache daisy.

Bob is next to crystal clear
Little Johnson Creek

More walkers headed back.

The lower bridge is the freeway access 
road. The upper bridge is I-10.

At Joshua Springs Preserve, there is an event center situated on top of the mountain. They have weddings and other events up there. We have hiked to the top of the mountain before on the Joshua Springs Preserve walk. 


As we walked the freeway access road under I-10 to Joshua Springs Preserve, a Triumph car club drove by, oh, and one Triumph motorcycle as well. Somehow, a Corvette and a couple of other cars sneaked into the lineup.

Triumphs coming by us.

We had just a short jaunt from Little Joshua Creek's simple gravel road across the access road to Joshua Springs Preserve. Our walk had us go into the park, past the dog play area, and then to the restroom! Yay. That was our turn-around point on the 11k walk. 

Bob hugging the guardrail as we
walked along the busy access road.


As far as I know, we haven't
hiked the Nature's Edge Loop yet.

Heading back, re-passing the checkpoint.

Figuring out the livestock fence again.

These flowers were about the
size of your fingernail - tiny!

Miniature wildflowers.


Bob by Little Joshua Creek.

Me at Little Johnson Creek.

Cardinal flower (Lobelia Cardinalis).

Autumn meadowhawk dragonfly (?)

Great egret across 
Little Joshua Creek.

Great egret flying across Little
Joshua Creek.

Great egret landed on this side of
Little Joshua Creek.

We finished our walk on the gravel road, traversed the Waring Welfare Road, situated ourselves in the car, and drove back to the start point to stamp our Volksmarch books.

For lunch, Bob and I stopped at The Rim shopping center in San Antonio to have lunch at Bakery Lorraine. I had a turkey sandwich on rye that was really a turkey Reuben. It was delicious. Bob had a Cobb salad.

The Waring walks are both days this weekend. Tomorrow, I will pick up Andy Thomas in the morning and we will head back to the Waring VFD for the Zoeller Lane Trail walk. At 11 am, the Waring Volunteer Fire Department is putting on their annual fish fry. We will stay for that before heading back to San Antonio.

Thank you to Hill Country Volkssportverein Club for putting on these two walks this weekend. We enjoy attending this event every year.

Bob plans to ride his bike with Darren Medlin (Susan's husband) in the morning. Susan Medlin is in Kansas doing the county walks this weekend. 

On Wednesday, Susan Medlin and I leave for the Walk Around Florida (in Daytona Beach this year). We'll be gone a week. Bob and I did the Daytona Beach walks last year even though they had canceled Walk Around Florida in 2020 due to COVID-19.

That's it for today.