It was a great day today, up to 70 degrees after a few weeks of below freezing. No clouds, the sun was out, and Fairweather Steve and I were able to decide on a time to meet for a run.
We had no definite plan, but wanted to stay away from the pavement and hit some of the single track trails at O.P. Schnabel. These are mainly for mountain bikes, but they are really good for a run too. For a general overview of the park, please see this post: O.P. Schnabel Review.
We started from the main parking lot and ran along the park’s South boundary. The trail is pretty smooth on this ‘top’ part of the park. There are definitely some roots and rocks, but overall it makes for a smooth run. If you want, you can stay purely up on the top part of the park, and even stick on pavement trails that make for good walking.
We did a small hill descent, then followed whatever trails we happened upon and then descended to the Leon Creek trail. The Leon Creek trail is paved and runs for many miles to the North and South. If you stay to the West of the pavement, you get the single-track version.
The trail we ran was mostly the flats and dried creek bed. The trail goes back and forth, but if you stay away from the hill to the West and the pavement to the East, it is pretty hard to get lost. We continued North and took some detours here and there. Steve pointed out some pretty scary looking bike descents and jump hills for bikes along the route.
There were small patches of mud to run around, and a few ponds of standing water. About 20 minutes in, we came across about 20 kids and a few parents playing in a water bog. The water looked a bit muddy, but the kids seemed to be having a good time.
We did not see any bikes, but did see a few deer. I was a bit nervous when we passed the deer. By a strange coincidence I had had a Bambi burger the night before.
I had not had venison for probably 30 years, but Stephanie and I decided to give it a try when we saw it at the meat counter earlier in the week. After dinner, I remembered why I have not had any in 30 years. I am more of a homogenized, grain fed, cow sort of guy. Luckily, the deer did not get close enough to smell my breath, but I could tell they knew something was up. We ran on.
The northern part of our route had a lot of nice single track, with a few small hills here and there.
At the northern end of our route, we looped around the fishing pond. I have never seen a fish there, but the fishermen seem to like it. There are signs around the pond telling of the dangers of actually touching the water with bare flesh, so we kept wide of it. We saw a pair of storks that obviously could not read the signs – they were just sitting in the water.
I greatly amused Steve as I tried to get a picture of them, but the storks kept flying away as soon as I got my phone out to take a picture. I stopped trying after the third attempt, and we started the run back to O.P. Schabel.
When we got back to the park, Steve had something extra in mind, “If you don’t mind going about another mile.” What the heck, let’s go! We ran across the flats of the park by the entrance and into a little magic:
There is actually a patch of bamboo forest at O.P. Schnabel! I did not even know it existed. The single track loops in and out under the shade of the tall bamboo. You can smell the bamboo too; a fresh jungle scent, right in the middle of San Antonio! This area is only about 1/2 mile from the parking lot too. If you make the correct turns from the paved trail…
Here is our route for the day. The bamboo is just up from the lower left corner of our route, southwest from the ‘O.’ in the park name