San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

The Loop


My Getaway: A Conversation with Todd Miller

Christopher Todd Miller was born and raised in San Marcos, Texas, and has lived here most of his life.  He enjoys the outdoors, hiking, biking, yoga, motorcycle riding, and riding BMX bikes—generally, just playing.  He grew up in the natural areas of San Marcos, and believes it’s very important to protect these gifts from our Mother Earth. Todd currently works in the Recycling Department at Texas State University. He’s also a certified yoga instructor and hopes to one day teach classes in prisons, jails, and rehabilitation centers.

Why do you value the natural areas?

I value the natural areas personally because they bring me a sense of peace and solace. I feel most myself when surrounded by trees, grasses, flowers, insects, and all the critters that make up the animal kingdom. Beyond myself, I feel it is so important to protect our natural areas from further development, because without them, our (a collective “ours”) world would not be an inhabitable place for the many thousands of species that call Earth home.

Who or what most influenced your view of the natural world?

I grew up in the 1970s near where the Lower Purgatory parking lot is now, before commercial development in the surrounding area. The Wonder World extension had not yet been built.  I would spend countless hours every day, roaming the “woods” behind my house, in what is now Purgatory Creek Natural Area and its trail system. I’d play and explore in those wooded areas as a small child, and even back then I realized how important it was to preserve what is left of our natural world. Also, being interested in the sciences in elementary school. It’s shaped my world view in my adult life.

What is your favorite trail? What do you like about it?

I’d say that throughout the years, Dante has been my favorite trail because it’s always reminded me of my childhood, and the memories I made in the natural area (pre-trail system). It was also one of the original trails I explored and would hike as an adult, some years later. You can really put some miles in on the trail, too. As a mountain biker, I also like the technical challenges and the length. But you know, my “favorite trail” changes daily, depending on my mood. I really enjoy some of the other trails in other natural areas that are a little less frequented. I can go to Schulle Canyon, and rarely do I see another person. I also enjoy Ringtail Ridge and Blanco Shoals for that reason. There are so many good trails in the area, and I want to encourage people to explore them all.

What do you most enjoy doing when you visit the Greenbelt?

Finding “stillness,” if that makes sense. Even in movement of the body, I enjoy the serenity and stillness of my mind, when I am out on the greenbelt trails. It’s a place for me to turn inwards for some introspection and to check in with how I am feeling. I like finding a quiet place first thing in the morning for some meditation, usually at Prospect since it’s the area most accessible to me. I find that if I meditate in nature in the mornings, I feel more “grounded,” and it sets the tone for the rest of my day.

What recommendations would you give new users of the trail?

Follow the “Leave No Trace” rules. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.  Be courteous to other trail users, and don’t disturb the wildlife. If it’s your first time down a trail, take a photo of the map at the trail head, or download a map of the trail system, so that you can navigate your way around. Be kind, courteous, and enjoy!

Lastly, I want to say thank you to SMGA for the opportunity to share a few words and thank y’all so much for everything y’all do to keep our natural areas!


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