The start of our hiking journey as a family was a way for us to bond with our children, reconnect with nature, improve our mental and physical health, and explore our town’s beautiful trails. We have hiked each trail one by one, revisiting multiple times after. We’ve also invited our family and friends to our favorite spots to have picnics, hike, and share the beauty of the trails.
During each hike we discussed the types of plants we saw, habitats, animals, and importance of nature. We focused on smells, the terrain, and history of each trail. We incorporated mindfulness, safety, and leaving no trace. All the things, yet we failed to acknowledge the foundation of those magnificent trails: Community Service. These hiking trails did not just magically appear! Each trail is the result of planning, hard work, knowledge in many subjects, blood, sweat, and tears.
Exploring Sessom Creek Natural Area was an amazing eye opener to the hard work and dedication of trail crew members, neighbors, and collaboration with organizations to build and maintain our trails. As we walked through the rugged, sloped greenspace, we saw piles of invasive plants such as chinaberry limbs laid out. Unlike the trails we have previously explored, this area is raw, unpaved, and undergoing invasive plant removal and restoration. There are areas cleared out with piles of mulch telling a story of volunteers recently hard at work. You can see a trail forming, stones laid out with precision, and cleared out areas that once were invaded by bamboo and ligustrum, telling a story of strong teamwork with a vision.
Building this hiking trail is a science; it appears well developed, with a balance of social and environmental approaches. This trail work is thoughtful of water flows into the headwaters of the San Marcos River, while also opening doorways to the beautiful sights for trail users. So much appeared to be orchestrating as we walked along the trail. Hiking this steep area had us discussing the considerable amount of work it takes from volunteers—cutting, going up and down, digging, not to mention the upkeep. We are motivated to help and were inspired to volunteer to help ensure sustainability and follow the trail work’s amazing progress. Sessom Creek Natural Area was a great adventure. It provided our family a visual sense of our community coming together, making positive changes, building pride, peace and protecting our environment.
Written by Christina Casas-Moreno*, SMGA member.
* Christina is a nurse who works for a managed care organization that serves Uvalde. She wears the green tennis shoes in honor of the children who were killed there—particularly Maite Rodriguez, who wore shoes like this to symbolize her love of nature.