Friday, March 28, 2008

Bicycling in the Rio Grande Valley

Along many sections of the Santa Ana bike route, trees create a shady arch as the branches from the right side grow to touch branches on the left. This canopy of leafy branches, some draped with tendrils of Spanish moss reminded Ed of a tender, loving tradition passed on from his Mom and Dad. “Whenever Mom and Dad passed under trees over a road like this, they’d touch each other’s hands as a sign of their love and commitment.” Ed told me this as he touched my hand under the arching branches.

We had paused to absorb the natural beauty of the bicycle route we selected for our outing. We were at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, south of Alamo, Texas. According to the Birding & Butterfly Map of the Rio Grande Valley, the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is 2,088 acres of undisturbed riparian forest. In the brush and subtropical trees similar to those found in Northern Mexico, over 400 species of birds and 300 species of butterflies have been recorded. The Refuge map shows 12 walking trails none longer that 7 miles and most a mile or less. The Bicycle Loop follows Tour Loop Road for 6.8 level miles.

This leisurely route offered plenty of opportunities to park our bikes and hike some trails. We only followed two. Jaguarundi Trail led us to the Rio Grande River for a view of Mexico. And, a second one opened to views of Cattail Lake – full of cattails and dotted with ducks floating or diving for a snack. The scenery was serene and just what we had hope for on this relaxing bike ride.

March 20, 2008

Directions to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge:

US 83 to Alamo, turn South on FM 907, at Highway 281 turn east and look for the park sign

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