On a sunny day, one begins this popular trail in the busy tourist section, where the chants of vendors and press of crowds make for a scene of happy chaos.
From here, we head into the peace of a nineteenth-century German neighborhood of stately homes and jasmine-covered gates. Trees cast their leafy branches over the path, creating the illusion of green caves and tunnels.
As we continue on, artist lofts and hipster bars come into sight, created out of dilapidated warehouses from the early years of the twentieth century.
Soon these give way to crumbling mills and factories, the humble homes of the working classes, and what was once an iffy neighborhood of crooks and broken windows.
Finally, a Spanish mission comes into view. We are at our destination.
Circling back toward downtown, we are grateful for the areas reseeded with native plants and visited by local birds and wildlife. Water cascades over rocks and riffles, and the open mouths of nearby flood control channels assure us that these pleasant places won't be soon washed away by erosion. Dotted here and there are parks, some new, others restored to their midcentury glory, and all of them busy with family picnics and active children waving jubilant fists in the air. Runners and cyclists zoom past, dog-walkers tug on leashes or get pulled along, and here and there a child casts a line into the water, learning how to fish.
Four miles and we are back in the thick of the tourist section again, eighteenth century limestone turning over to the steel and glass of the modern era.
But by having delved into the past and back again, we have seen what can be done when people put their minds toward creating a place for everyone to enjoy. We have reclaimed the land, but given it back to nature as well. In sum, we have demonstrated that in this world, there are indeed second acts and nothing is binding.
Created for Sunday Scribblings and The Sunday Whirl in honor of my recent trip to San Antonio, where recent river development has resulted in the wonderful Mission Reach trail.