Instead of fighting through crowds this Black Friday, my family decided to #OptOutside and take a walk in the park! We joined Latino Outdoors for their hike through the Emilie and Albert Friedrich Wilderness Park.
In 1971, the city of San Antonio was gifted 180 acres of land by Norma Friedrich Ward after her death with the stipulation that the land be used to support and protect local wildlife. Wilbert Matthews and Glen Martin donated another 52 acres with the same wish. The city obtained even more land after a nearby golf course development went bankrupt in the 1990s, leaving behind large brush piles which you can still see along the trail.
The park boasts 600 acres and 10 miles of paved and unpaved hiking trails and gorgeous views, and prides itself on being home to two endangered songbird species: The Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo. Among these birds, wildlife also includes wild hogs, bobcats, hawks, and coyotes. During our hike, our guide, Nicole, also mentioned that there have been sightings of a mountain lion!
As we walked along the trail, Nicole pointed out different plants and explained their significance. For example, sumac is an edible evergreen which is part of the citrus family. At first, I didn’t believe her when she said they tasted like lemon Sour Patch Kids, but she was exactly right! Other plants featured on the trail are huisache, a thorny, drought resistant tree which was exported to France and cultivated for it’s fragrant, yellow blossoms, and sotol, which looks similar to an agave plant but is actually part of the asparagus family! Sotol is also used for weaving baskets and shoes and making the drink sotol, an alcohol similar to tequila. You can get sotol drinks at Desert Door.
Before you go, you should know that the park does not allow pets in an effort to reduce the risk of pets attacking wildlife, especially endangered wildlife, and vice versa. The park features a wheel-chair accessible trail as well as trails of varying difficulties. Regardless of the trail you take, a good rule of thumb is to spread your toes as you walk down an incline for balance. Another one is to be on the lookout for poison ivy.
If you’d like to visit Friedrich Wilderness Park or schedule a guided hike, CheckOut FOSANA!