Saturday, June 1, 2013

Joshua Springs Park and Preserve Volksmarch - Sat., June 1

Early risers this morning with a 4:45 alarm. Why you ask? To walk before the 94 F. heat of the day sets in.

The Hill Country Volkssportverein Club sponsored this morning's Volksmarch through the gorgeous Joshua Springs Park and Preserve in Comfort, Texas. We opted to do the 13K - that's 7.8 miles - walk. (Other options were 5K [3.1 mi.] and 10K [6.2mi.] walks). The walk started at 7:00 a.m. and we had to finish by 11:00 a.m. It took us approximately three hours to walk 7.8 miles (that includes all my picture taking stops).

What a lovely park! The facilities look relatively new - restrooms, picnic tables, fishing platforms, playground equipment, and group picnic areas. The walk took us by the lake, around meadows, up to the top of Ring Mountain (that was an additional 3K we opted to take over and above our normal 10K), through old-growth pecan trees, and a small arboretum.

Watch out for snakes in the grass! (We didn't see any.)
Below: The trail through the arboretum and by the lake.

A covered fishing platform.
Beautiful new signage.
The lake: You can kayak and canoe on the lake (no motors).
So pretty.

Texas Hill Country at its finest.
"I love you" shadows.
Hiking to the top of Ring Mountain. Great views of Hill Country here.
Oleander and Texas Hill Country view.
The suns rays took up 140 degrees of the view in the east.
Ring Mountain Event Center (was set up for a wedding later).
Creeping phlox
AVA 10K "walk route" signs show us the way.
A big round bale of hay.
Fields of Mexican hat and giant coneflowers.
Old pecan trees.
Greater tickseed (Coreopsis major)
A small pond.
A herd of 12 Axis deer flew by us. I was able to capture one of them in a photo.

Axis deer on the run.
Meadows of wildflowers and grass - watch out for the venomous snakes!
Musk thistle flower.
Bob enjoying the walk.
Purple thistle flower.
Chimney swift abode.
All about chimney swifts.

Bird blind. I was checking it out.
Nope, no birds spotted here.
Scenery in the park.
Low-growing firewheels (AKA Indian blankets) and green pom-pom-like flowers.
Nature's rock garden.
For those of you who like herpetology.
Soaptree yucca (Yucca elata)

Young Cypress tree.
Milkweed seed pods
A little waterfall.
Texas skeletonplant (Lygodesmia texana) - AKA Purple Dandelion or
Flowering Straw.
White-tailed deer we noticed as we drove out of the preserve.
The Volksmarch was well attended and the large parking lot at the Reserve was almost full. The hike was very well thought out with many types of landscape included. We will be visiting the preserve again and again.  I was hoping to see yellow-cheeked warblers; alas, none flew into our line of vision.

While we were in Welfare we drove around Top of the Hill RV Resort. It certainly is named well. You would not have to worry about flooding there. It seems it would be cooler because of the breezes/wind on the hill. Many of the sites did not look level. Some sections of the park had long-term residents in dilapidated RVs. There were some cute cabins for rent. We did not go in the cabins or check out the facilities at the RV park...just drove around the loops out of curiosity. You can read about it on their web page (see link above) or

On the way back to San Antonio, before we hit I-10, we stopped at Smittyville Country Store to raid the bakery. Oh my. The selection was not huge, but what they had was delectable. The store is impeccable and there is a cafe inside. Smittyville Country Store is at Exit 533 off Interstate 10 about 25 minutes west of San Antonio in the community of Welfare. The store opens at 9:00 a.m.
You can see the resident cat on the porch.
Very friendly kitty who purred and kneaded when petted.
In addition to the cafe and bakery, they offer coffees, Italian sodas and smoothies. Bob had a cheese Danish (good), I chose an apple/brown sugar crumble Danish (to die for!), and we bought a double chocolate muffin to share (yummy). Their pies were tempting too, especially the apple and the tart cherry pies. However, we refrained and took a rain check on the pies. Sorry I forgot to take photos of the food.

Smittyville Country Store menu.
Gotcha now mortuary (in case you didn't get it).
Smittyville Country Store Cafe.
We drove back to where we had parked Bob's truck so he could go to work. I headed to the cheap theater to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Please see separate blog for a review.

Travel Bug out.