Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter Walk-Off 2017

Getting in on Winter Walk-Off 2017 just under the wire.  Winter Walk-Off is hosted by Les at A Tidewater Gardener.  The rules are simple.  Leave your house for a walk and take photos.  You can drive there or ride a bike as long as you don't show your own garden.  Then post and comment on Les' blog A Tidewater Gardener.

This year's walk seems like same thing different year.  Last year my sister-in-law from Dallas joined me on my walk.  This year, just as I was thinking of joining Winter Walk Off, she called to say she was on her way to San Antonio again.  She's a flight attendant and even though she flies a lot it's rare that she gets a San Antonio layover long enough for a walk so this is a special treat.

We begin along the San Antonio River south of downtown just below The Guenther House Restaurant (on the left with green trim) about where we left off last year.

The Guenther House is part of Pioneer Flour Mills and is a museum, restaurant, and gift shop.  Nice for brunch.

At first the walk is similar to other parts of the River Walk.  Lots of concrete mixed with landscaping.

That look quickly gives way to a more natural setting near the Blue Star Arts Complex.

What was for years basically an icky drainage ditch has been restored since 2009 with native plants and features like this stairway flanked by old concrete columns.

Steps across the river are more challenging than they look.

Especially since I stopped to take photos in the middle.

A look down the middle of the river.

Painted Ladies!  We exit the river into Southtown to take a closer look.

"Make Tacos Not War" started here in San Antonio, the artist now lives in New York.

Maybe the old trim was electric pink?

Southtown is becoming more popular as the neighboring King William District we explored last year gets pricier.

Yard art is big in Southtown

It would be fun to know the story of this fanciful architecture.

Dish garden as travelogue.

Take out a pen and change that to "los perros".

And also in English just in case.  Nice fence.

We're moving on.  Never, ever mess with the chihuahua.

River entry points have nicely designed plazas with benches and pedestrian bridges

The faux bois work of local artist Carlos Cortes is featured all along the river.  The San Antonio River Foundation raises private funds for art on the River Walk.

Bike stations located along the route make it easy to enjoy all 15 miles of the trail.

Bike repair stations just in case.

Among the wildlife we spotted this trio of turtle, heron, and cormorant all enjoying a sunny day along the river.

We walked under a railroad trestle which appears to still be in use.

This was cool, it's pretty rare to walk under a wooden railroad trestle on a public walkway.

The terminus of a flood control tunnel which diverts rainwater under downtown to prevent flooding in tourist areas.  I like the retro Deco style of the building which was completed in 1997 though it looks much older.

Cormorants have staked out their fishing spot.

Bikers pay attention here.  This portion of the walkway ends in the water.  If you were zipping along this could be a problem.  But there's a way up to street level.  Debris on the sign shows how high the water has been with all the rain this spring.

Ducklings under mom's watchful eye

Dad's too.  He didn't flinch even though we got close.

Native agarita blooming near the bridge.  This is prickly stuff.

Those gates are debris catchers which can be opened if there's serious flooding.  Most of the time the trash is cleaned out before the water heads about 200 miles south to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf of Mexico.  The city could have left this looking like a bunch of pipes with grates, but they did this instead.  

The River Walk continues another nine miles though we end this walk at Roosevelt Park across from the old Lone Star Brewery which is undergoing renovation into a mixed use complex similar to The Pearl on the north side.

That's a very different look at my town for the Winter Walk-off for March 2017.  Thanks to Les for hosting again and I look forward to seeing all the other entries.


  1. I do love the tours of your beautiful city, Shirley!

    1. I'm so glad to hear that, it's kind of a funky neighborhood so I didn't know what would go over well or not.

  2. Your river walks are always I bright spot for me, I enjoy them greatly...thank you!

    1. I plan to keep on going so I'm glad you enjoyed them.

  3. I enjoyed your walk, Shirley! Water, old houses, plants, blooming trees, animals - nice!

  4. I enjoyed this - is it just an annual event? The yard art is amazing - and I love the cormorants all lined up!

    1. Les has been hosting this annually for a while. Check out his page for more walks. Plan to enter next year Sarah, I know you'll come up with something good.

  5. It's always a joy to accompany you on your river walks. Enjoyed the sights and the video on the link for the Guenther house. The painted ladies and yard art were fab!

    1. We've just scratched the surface of the wonders of Southtown. I need to go back again.

  6. Your town looks like the ideal place for many the look of Southtown.


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