Not such a great idea of mine or aka the day the trail ended

By now you know I like to do fun things that are cheap/free on vacation.  I also like to show our daughter the local area and how it differs from where we live.  And getting off the road and taking a hike is usually a fun way to do this. We have in the past loved our hike around Mount Rainier and we hike in our local state parks.  I searched around and found the Santa Ana wildlife refuge near Alamo, Texas.

They offered an observation tower and canopy walk.  I don’t do heights but this would be right up my daughters alley.  She loves that type of thing. We drove from South Padre the night before to the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Weslaco to fulfill the stay two get 1 night promo.  The plan was to arrive early before it became too hot to walk around.

We arrived at the park around 8:30am and it was hot already! We paid our $3 for our car and received our wrist bands.  I didn’t pay alot of notice, I figured they wanted to know we paid. We went to the bathroom before our walk and noticed MANY signs about reporting people to border patrol.  They were on the mirror, on the back of the stall doors, and on the door back outside.  We got the message, and it was I think the same number on our blue wristbands.  We set off to see wildlife and experience nature!

Here we are all fresh and ready to go!


We saw wildlife!


To be fair Texas was in a drought state, everything seemed to be very dry. I however did not expect things to look like other southern states, somehow I thought it would look different.  We could have been in Florida for alot of these pictures with the moss in the trees.  The trails were nice and wide, easy to walk.


It was hot and I was a gross sweaty mess when we found the canopy walk. I don’t do heights so I sent the family up without me.

IMG_9680  IMG_9681

This was their view and they were not impressed by it. I was secretly glad I didn’t go up there for that!


At this point the walk a trail thing has been a huge fail.  We were hot, sweaty and disappointed.  We saw 1 rabbit and a butterfly the size of a paper plate about took out my child, but that was it.  (Happened so fast I didn’t even get a picture.) The little lake was pretty much dried up so nothing to see there.   I had to redeem this and quick!

I asked if daughter wanted to see the Rio Grand and maybe Mexico from the trail. She wanted to see the cemetery and there was a trail on the map that would make the loop around to do both.

We set off on our adventure to see the shore of Mexico.  I was really trying to salvage this hike, it was really hot even at 9:30am.


We had a nice wide path to follow, remember the wrist bands. They seemed to patrol this pretty often with a vehicle that we never saw.  And there was the Rio Grande.


Daughter found a couple of paths that went down to the river. And there is Mexico on the other side.  The hike was looking successful, we had seen Mexico and were off the to cemetery next!  And then in our path lay this…


And behind it was this odd landslide or washout. Either way the trail was not passable.


I was beyond irritated.  We had talked to people, they put wristbands on us but said nothing. We were in the visitor center and you couldn’t hang a sign, you couldn’t verbally tell me that Vireo trail was closed?  I wanted to call the number on my wrist and complain but I wasn’t sure who exactly that called!  They could have put a sign up when we turned down the trail by the river, anything!!!!!

So we are hot, sweaty, mad and walking back a over a mile in the same direction we had already walked.  The cemetery was not going to happen, it was over a mile in the other direction and I was melting.

This was the prettiest thing we saw on our hike.


We went back over the levee to our car, figured out how to change my shirt without flashing people and turned on the air conditioning.  Now we laugh about the trail to no-where and its turned into a family joke. But at the time I wanted my $3 back.  That cheap adventure was a major disappointment at every turn.

Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Not such a great idea of mine or aka the day the trail ended

  1. I think we’ve all been in that situation, hahaha. Sounds like a great family memory (now).

  2. killer butterflies and one bunny? bummer…..and Im with you but I love heights but would have been happier to stay behind on that canopy trail.

  3. Living in West Texas, I can confirm that dry and often drab and dusty is the rule of the day, though the area around San Antonio is often greener. Drought has hit us hard in these parts. I’m glad you can now laugh at this misadventure, at the time it can be so frustrating when you have planned a special outing and it disappoints. I recall a four-wheel ATV park we once drove two hours to reach in order to take a fun ride on our Polaris Ranger. When we finally found the place it turned out to be a total letdown, not more than a hilly pasture with washed out trails and no scenery to enjoy. It was our first and last trip in that direction! Wishing you many wonderful trips to come, I love your concept for finding fun things to do on a budget! Thank you for linking up with us at Two Shoes Tuesday! 🙂

  4. My wife and I went on long walk in a national park in Queensland, Australia. It was deserted even of the birds which we had come to look for. After several hours we returned the car in the deserted car park only to find it was surrounded by four or five large goanna lizards about 5 or 6 feet long. They looked hungry and could probably sense our food in the car. Luckily we were able to distract them and hop in the car and escape. Curiously that made the trip worth while! These tales are always good for retelling.

  5. A butterfly the size of a paper plate? I’ve never seen one that big! Thanks for linking up to Song-ography.

    • It was pretty fun, We didn’t see it until the last moment. Daughter about hit the gravel when it came past her head. I really, really wish we had a pic of it! Thanks for stopping by.

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