A retired school psychologist, Susan McGee is originally from Indiana, but has lived in Texas for 45 years. Currently she is active in the Texas Outdoor Women’s Network and leads frequent hikes in the area. She also volunteers at Twice Blessed, a charitable consignment shop sponsored by the First United Methodist Church. In the past, she supported SMGA by participating in trail building and maintenance.
Why do you value the natural areas?
The natural areas add beauty and interest to our community. It is important to preserve a natural habitat for wildlife along with opportunities for us to observe the wide variety of plants and animals that exist in our area.
The Greenbelt is a wonderful place for outdoor education as well as physical exercise. There are numerous health benefits obtained from hiking or biking the trails, including mental and emotional health benefits, which have been so important over the past year. Visiting natural areas allows one to find some peaceful alone time, or to enjoy increased social opportunities when hiking with others.
What is your favorite trail? What do you like about it?
I love the Spring Lake trails for the wide diversity of landscapes found there. Hills and occasional water features add physical challenges as well as beauty. Navigating the complex trail system in that park is still a challenge, which I enjoy.
What do you most enjoy doing when you visit the Greenbelt?
Hiking with friends and family is my favorite activity in the Greenbelt.
What recommendations would you give new users of the trail?
New users of the natural areas would benefit from downloading maps from the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance website or using their online interactive map. The AllTrails app for smart phones also provides maps and allows for the recording of your hikes. Apps such as Seek or PictureThis are helpful when identifying the many plants and wildflowers found on the trails. When hiking with small children, it may be best to stick to improved trails such as the one in Upper Purgatory or shorter, less rocky trails like those in Schulle Canyon. Most other trails are not suited for stroller use.
Do you have any concerns as a user of the trails?
Although dogs are welcome, they should always be leashed and their waste should be removed from the trails. It is very unpleasant and sometimes dangerous if loose dogs run up to hikers or bikers. Even well-trained animals can be unpredictable when outside of their routine environment. Users should also be mindful of the wild animals living in the green spaces that may provide distractions to their pets. In addition, dog owners should be aware that there are also a few cats (leashed) who like to hike the trails with their owners.