I recently wrote about how audio books saved our year last year, but the other big thing that saved my sanity was the walks we took. You guys, we walked so so so many miles. Not all at once, mind you, in fact- we usually walked exactly one mile. Justice, who was four at the time, has a very special super power wherein he can literally tell that he’s walked exactly one mile and it is now his cue to complain of impending death. As a four year old he has zero access to a pedometer, yet some how he just knows.
Believe me I tested this multiple times, but Justice always won. No matter how much fun he was having 3 feet ago, one mile in and he’s an absolute goner. This is why I always had to start clocking our walks on my watch as soon as we exited the car and then exactly half a mile away- no matter how cool the trail in front of us might seem, or how happy all my kids were in that moment, we’d need to turn around.
OK, so to be specific- one mile walks saved my sanity. And over days and days that really does start to add up! And we did walk for days and days. At the beginning of quarantine when online school was messy at best and an absolute circus, and literally everything was shut down and lots of people were afraid to check their mail, my kids and I would pile in the car and I’d drive us to a trail. It started as trails I already knew, but as time went on- and I started to search for something new for us, we started to slowly make our way down 30-mile trails, mind you, we still did them in neat little 1 mile increments. I got to be very good at finding trailheads and secret entrances to trails, and learned how to park in residential side streets or in abandoned warehouse parking lots and using their street access to back to the trail to the last spot we had stopped so we could start up with “new ground”. I will forever be thankful to San Antonio and its expansive trails. We went exactly 2 and a half months with a walk every single day, and not ONCE did we repeat a walk! That’s amazing! Someone hire me for advertising for this city! PR people?! Were you at?
By April ( which was one month in to our daily treks) we’d walked the entire River Walk. We’d gone so far we’d have to literally drive 45 minutes to get to our next jumping off point! You guys! I’m embarrassed to say, I’d lived in San Antonio for 7 years and didn’t realize the River Walk was more than a 2 mile tourist attraction in downtown San Antonio! Once we’d reached the boundaries of the River Walk, we switched to the Salado Creek Trail. Once again we found miles and miles of trail to explore. And even though we never went far from home, or even out of the city, I felt the calm of nature and was able to feel like I’d had a mini adventure in the midst of a monotonous season.
I also learned my kid had a much higher tolerance for the pain and suffering of hot temperatures and sore legs if I carry a small bag of jelly beans in my pocket. Someone starts to whine and its jelly bean time! This advice came from my friend Amy over at Humans outside who was constantly taking her sons on wilderness adventures, I asked her for her secrets and she told me, “snacks lots and lots and snacks.” That’s a motto to live by people and definitely important when getting your outdoor time.
For those of you who live in or want to visit a San Antonio Trail here are the addresses for my top favorite walks our family now takes on the regular:
- Riverwalk Street Access at 304 Washington St. San Antonio Tx 78204 ( this residential street entrance to the River walk will take you both down towards the tourist portion of the River Walk (without having to pay for parking) in one direction and take you towards the much more nature portion of the paths in the other!
- Lady Bird Johnson Park, 10700 Nacogdoches Rd ( this took me a while to find because at first I was looking for the trail at the front of the park with all the playground equipment and baseball fields, but no, you have to follow the parking lot all the way back, circle to the right, keep going till you FINALLY come to a small parking area that can take you directly onto the Salado Creek trails. This access point is excellent for some great walks- go right for shade, left for sunny marsh lands.
- Woodcrest Park, 11027 Forest Pass Ct This is by far one of our favorite park for lots and lots of trails and tons of wildlife sightings- we always thought Mcallister Park was the best park for deer, but this park is much smaller ( so less overwhelming for a quick trip) and still so much to see.
- Oakwell Trailhead Park, another smaller entrance to the Salado Creek Trail, both directions are heavily shaded (of key importance in Texas) with lots of calming nature right in the middle of the city!
- G.W. Brackenridge High School Riverwalk Entrance, 400 Eagleland Dr. Another lesser trafficked section of the riverwalk with tons to see. We park in the school parking lot on the weekends or on the residential street when school is in session and then pick up the trail. If you go left you’ll hit a super cool water bridge where you can look for tadpoles or even go fishing. As well as an old wooden train bridge. (standing under this when a train is going overhead is not recommended for my Enneagram 6s) followed by one of the River Dams that has some cool informational plaques to learn how flood plans are made. If you go to the right you’ll see some gorgeous gardens and tons of interesting fancy apartments and old historic homes (seriously I kinda like looking at real estate.)
I have so many favorite walks it was hard to pick just 5 here. I’m happy to share more if you’re interested, but I’d also love to know your own favorite walks! Let me know in the comments, even a particularly happy memory of a walk would do. 🙂