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

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Phil Hardberger Park and the Tobin Land Bridge 10k Walk - Saturday, October 16, 2021

Brilliant, airbrushed blue sky, wildflowers in October (!), and cool temperatures in San Antonio, Texas, were the highlights of today's walk. Oh, wait! Today's walk was really about seeing the new Tobin Land Bridge and Skywalk at Phil Hardberger Park. The other benefits listed above were bonuses.

After a few days of big thunder, lightning, and rainstorms in San Antonio, the heat and humidity backed way off this morning. We started our walk at 10 a.m. with a temperature of 63 degrees. A breeze kept the temperature lower than average for this time of year. When we finished walking at 12:30 p.m., it was 71 degrees. Nice!

The Phil Hardberger Park/Tobin Land Bridge in San Antonio was celebrated with a new walk sponsored by the Randolph Roadrunners Volksmarch Club a couple of months ago. We were on our seven-week vacation and couldn't wait to do this walk when we returned.

What a lovely new walk for our city. Phil Hardberger Park is a 330-acre, sustainable, natural urban park with 7.5 miles of trails. It is known as San Antonio's Urban Oasis. The east and west sides of the park which had been separated by Wurzbach Parkway (a six-lane highway) are now connected by the natural habitat of the Tobin Land Bridge.

The Tobin Land Bridge which goes across
six-lane Wurzbach Parkway.

Hardberger Park is managed for its wildlife habitat as much as for people. The master plan calls for 75% of the park to remain in its natural state. This park is a great escape from San Antonio's intense summer heat as it offers a lot of shade.

As we entered the park on our walk, we passed by a huge dog park lodged in the trees. Dogs have different areas based on their size. Humans and dogs looked to be having a great time. Leashed dogs are allowed on the park trails, but must be picked up after and under control.



Well-marked trails.

The Skywalk.

The Skywalk and artistic sky.

The Skywalk (you can see how
tall it is).

Bob on the Skywalk.

Trail surfaces we walked on varied from concrete to pea gravel to natural rock, root, and dirt surfaces. There was some mud because of the recent storms. We followed the Water Loop and Geology Trails to the Skywalk, which is a beautiful, elevated walkway through the tree canopy.

The Skywalk connects onto the Tobin Land Bridge. 

Bob on the Skywalk heading to
the Tobin Land Bridge.

The Tobin Land Bridge allows
people and wildlife to cross Wurzbach
Parkway.

Below is Innature by Ashley Mireles, © 2020. This is the fanciest wildlife blind I've ever seen. "As a means for connectivity, Innature provides visitors a space to view wildlife in a natural environment." The representation of blossoms from native species in the park allows for viewpoints at all heights.


The sky is putting on a show today!

After crossing the Land Bridge, the majority of our walk (four miles) was over on the east side of the park. Amazingly, wildflowers bloomed all along the trails after the recent rains.

Basketflower.

Damianita (Chrysactina Mexicana)?

Velvet-Leaf Mallow
(Wissadula holosericea).

Frostweed (Verbesina virginica).

Lantana.

Frostweed (Verbesina virginica).

Turk's cap.

Pink hibiscus.

Rain lilies.

Sacred Thorn-apple (Datura wrightii).
 
Oh, look, I found an anole! He blends
in perfectly.

Velvet-Leaf Mallow
(Wissadula holosericea).

Mealy blue sage
(Salvia farinacea).

We continued on all different types of trails but noticed that the trails on the east side of the park are more "wild" with rocks, exposed roots, and dirt.

Very good information.


We are starting on the 
Savanna Loop.

The Land Bridge and the 
stunning sky.

So much shade, and a bench
in the distance.

A tree tunnel.

The rockier path.


Pervious pavement info.

An alcove outside the Urban
Ecology Center.

The Urban Ecology Center.

A history of the park.

When Bob and I came upon the "interesting thing in the field" (photo below), we had no idea what it was. Bob guessed it was to keep birds away because it had a lot of shiny moving pieces on it. I guessed it was an art installation. Bob Googled it:  "Golden Age" artwork. Click the link to read all about it. I think that the artist did not take into account that after a few days of heavy rain the art would be hidden by how tall the grasses would grow!


"Golden Age," by Anne Wallace, 2013.


There are three "Golden Age"
installations in this pic (six in the park).

Native grasses in the 
Savanna area of the park.

We saw a couple of Dung beetles.

I found the fungus below growing in the cavity of a big oak (?) tree. Just in time for Halloween, these looked like hands inside the tree. Creepy!

Fungus growing in the cavity of a tree.

Info about  Salado Creek.

About Salado Creek geology.

Salado Creek geology.

Me at the Salado Creek 
Overlook.

It took us 2-1/2 hours to do our 10k walk, mostly because of my picture taking and taking time to read the information boards around the park. Besides the anole and Dung beetle, we saw a young buck and doe wander across a trail in front of us. 

The park is very well used. The trails are populated with walkers, dog-walkers, bikers, and families with strollers. One downside, Bob almost got run over by out-of-control bikers coming down a hill. They did not sound a warning and he did not see them. I yelled and he backed up just in time. I saw that at least one of them had a bell on her bike, but she didn't use it.

Other than that, we had a wonderful, shady walk with a sky show put on by Mother Nature. Can't beat that! 

Thank you, Randolph Roadrunners, for putting together this year-round walk. We will be walking it a lot.

3 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the travelog as much as your FB walk stories. I had a hard time returning to the next picture or writing after blowing up the info signs in order to read them. I've noticed I always have to start from the beginning again, but I love the info you present, including flower ID. I know some, but not nearly as many as you, or not the same ones. I may know "some" you might not know, but I doubt it. I want to do this walk.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If you tap the X on the top left of any photo, you will exit and have to start from the beginning of the blog. But if you tap the back arrow next to that X, you will return to the place in the blog where you left to examine a photo.

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