Our adventure to Blanco Shoals Natural Area focused on a mindful hike through the trail and exploring the banks of the Blanco River. The trail is tucked under the IH35 bridge behind The Grove and The Heights Apartment complexes. The undefined trail crosses through flat green space in undeveloped riparian. The entry is located at 1201 E. River Ridge Pkwy, it is a tranquil 1.5-mile family-friendly hike and trail. As we started on the trail, it led us to an open grassy area, blanketed in yellow wildflowers with scattered sycamore, and pecan trees. We detoured onto a trail that led us to the banks of the Blanco River. We spent most of our time near the river until the sun began to set.
Mindfulness is defined by Merriam Webster as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”
The best thing about our mindful hike was that it did not take any special equipment, other than comfortable shoes and open dialogue.
We focused our attention on the sensations of our hike, discussing how they affected our bodies. We felt the wind and sunshine on our faces and touched the grass and flowers as we walked by.
We focused on our breathing and listened to the sounds around us, bringing our attention to the present moment. Our family explored this area around 7 p.m., a perfect time to listen to the water rushing through the rocks, the birds chirping, and the frogs croaking, and to observe the sun setting.
Nayeli discovered tadpoles in the river while Nate enjoyed skipping rocks and playing with mud. In the river, we saw water hyacinths and sponge-like plant life. I highly recommend this trail for its ease, beauty, and direct access to the river. This peaceful area is a great place to launch a kayak or canoe into the water to enjoy a relaxing day. I encourage you to bring your water bottles and bug spray, and take a mindful hike along this trail.
Photos and text by SMGA member Christina Casas-Moreno.