Boerne is foot-traffic friendly; just ask the antique shoppers who regularly amble up and down Main Street. But as spring and warm weather arrive, I set out to do a different kind of walking (perhaps even jogging!) along the Old No. 9 Greenway. This 1.4 mile hike and bike trail bisects, roughly speaking, the town center from the southeast to the northwest. I lace up my tennis shoes and get some exercise along with fresh air and a dose of history along the way.
As the Friends of Old No. 9 website explains, the greenway represents the evolution of transportation in the area. The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway Company (SA&AP) followed a portion of the Pinta Trail, on which Plains Indians, explorers, U.S soldiers and later determined German immigrants, made their way into the Texas Hill Country. After the railway, State Highway 9 was constructed and when it was realigned and renamed Hwy. 87, an unused remnant of the original roadway was named the Old No. 9. From trailway to railway, from roadway to greenway, having come full circle, we are back on foot.
The Old No. 9 Greenway includes paved parking at the trail’s entrance at SH 46 and Esser Road. Six rest stops scattered along the way and water fountains at the trail heads offer respite. Three “auto crossings” bisect the trail with only one, at four-lane Blanco Road, presenting a challenge at heavier traffic times. Wildflowers line the trail path. Watch for Axis deer crossing the trail near the wooden trestle bridge, where through the trees the Patrick Heath Public Library construction site is visible.
Perhaps the best part about seeing Boerne by foot is yet to come. Council members just voted to expand the city’s hike and bike trails by awarding a $2.6 million contract for park improvements. The new Heart of Boerne Trail will run from near the Ye Kendall Inn at Main Plaza, follow along the Main Street side of Cibolo Creek and traverse River Road Park, effectively connecting downtown Boerne with City Park. The eight-foot concrete pathways should be open for pedestrians and cyclists by January 2012, giving us one more reason to follow in our forefathers’ footsteps and go for a walk!