San Antonio’s Favorite Trails

San Antonio’s Favorite Trails

Four trails that San Antonio residents can enjoy can enjoy to walk, run, hike or bike on.

By Michael Montes

Blossoming bluebonnets along the San Antonio river on the Mission Reach trail. Courtesy of thesanantonioriverwalk.com

Main Loop to Vista Loop to Fern Del Trail

The Main Loop to Vista Loop to Fern Del Trail is located within Friedrich Wilderness Park, a favorite among San Antonio hikers and mountain cyclists. Hiking the trail will lead you back to the start, which makes it hard to lose your place. The moderate trail is 2.4 miles long which makes it suitable for both intermediate outdoor enthusiasts and walkers enjoying the scenery. The loop features vibrant wildflowers and other wildlife, and is mostly used for hiking and running, although it is heavily trafficked due to its popularity.

Hillview Nature Trail Loop

Located in Eisenhower Park, this loop trail is very similar to the Main Loop to Vista Loop to Fern Del Trail. Mostly used for trail running, hiking and walking, this heavily trafficked trail stands short at 2.9 miles and is accessible year round, hosting a variety of wildflowers and lush vegetation. Bring a leash for your furry friends as dogs are allowed on the trail, but must be kept on a leash. 

McAllister Blue Loop Trail

McAllister is a local favorite when it comes to San Antonio parks, so it should be no surprise that its trails are beloved by the city’s residents. Like the previous trails listed above, the Blue Loop Trail is a moderately rated loop that brings the trekker back to where they began after hiking, running or even mountain biking the trail. This loop has more access for mountain biking, unlike the rest, but can get hot during summer months with the lack of shade in some stretches. The 6.7 miles of wild scenery can be enjoyed with a dog by your side, and the trail is partially paved and heavily trafficked throughout the year.

San Antonio Mission Trail Loop

For amateur historians or admirers of our city’s downtown district, the San Antonio Mission Trail Loop is very unique to our city. 15.1 miles long, this trail guides its travelers to each of the missions in San Antonio. The trail has paved paths which makes it easy to navigate, and overlooks the San Antonio river for some beautiful scenery. Road biking and walking are most popularly done on this loop, and other activities are of easy access year round, such as near access to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Dogs are also allowed on this trail, but remember to bring a leash.


Ditch Obesity by Ditching Junk Food

Easy access to junk food across America makes an easy option for many; however, it’s leading cause in obesity may interest you. 

By Michael Montes

Courtesy of TIME Magazine

Fast food. It’s cheap, everywhere, and sometimes it just hits the spot. Now it’s easier than ever to access fast food with delivery and ordering services such as Uber Eats and Doordash, which eliminate the task of picking up meal orders by delivering them right to the customer’s home. A survey conducted by U.S. Foods found that Uber Eats is the most popular app, followed by GrubHub, Doordash, and Postmates.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that the consumption of fast food has substantially increased ever since COVID-19 set new guidelines for day to day life. The amount of digital orders through third-party food delivery apps spiked in Spring  and drive-thrus are thriving in this age of contactless dining.

According to CNN Business, McDonald’s stated that, “roughly 90% of its US sales came through its drive-thru lanes.”

However, it’s an undeniable fact that fast food takes a toll on a consumer’s health when eaten frequently. Trailing right behind genetic factors, overconsumption of heavily processed foods is the second leading cause of obesity. Junk food is often more familiar to a science lab than it is to a kitchen, as it’s highly engineered to taste good, last long, and get people hooked. The low prices and high accessibility of junk food promote overeating and an unhealthy diet.

Consequently, America’s obesity problem is only growing more problematic. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that the obesity rate in America surpassed 40% in 2017 and has been sailing in the 40% zone ever since. Recently, the prevalence of obesity among adults strayed from the 30.5% target of the Healthy People 2020 goal, an objective that tracks the proportion of adults with obesity.

It’s known that obesity can lead to numerous health problems, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, diabetes, and sleep apnea. However, according to Obesity Action Org (OAC), recent studies in human models have demonstrated that obesity can lead to an impaired immune system that increases the risks and dangers of diseases and their symptoms.

In regards to recent concerns, obesity has been shown to worsen outcomes of COVID-19. As a person’s body mass index (BMI) increases, the risk of falling susceptible to diseases increases, including COVID-19.

“Having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection,” the CDC states. 

Nonetheless, having a high BMI doesn’t necessarily mean a person is obese or unhealthy. A person’s body mass index is a measure of their mass to their height, which means that having a high muscle mass rather than a large amount of body fat can make one appear overweight or obese when in fact they’re healthy.

Pro athletes often appear obese on a measure of their BMI, regardless of how physically fit and healthy they are. In fact, stated by National Public Radio (NPR), there is no Denver Broncos player with a normal BMI (18.5 to 24.9); on average every player has a BMI of 30 or greater, falling into the obese range.

Weight isn’t necessarily related to health risks. Rather, a person’s body composition is what’s linked to overall health.

Obesity is complex and can’t simply be hurdled by willpower; genetic obesity can be extremely challenging to overcome, but starting in small steps is often what it takes to conquer these challenges.

A great way to start is to eat a balanced diet full of nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber and vitamins. Access to healthy foods and exercise is key in steering towards the path of becoming healthy. A study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that healthy food isn’t any more expensive than junk food.

Although it might seem intimidating to visit a local supermarket given the current conditions, Amazon and other delivery services offer delivery fresh produce right to the buyer’s doorstep. Ditching heavily processed foods may be one of the most effective ways to ditch obesity.



Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, November 20, is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day in which the LGBTQ+ community and its allies honor and remember the transgender and gender diverse/non-conforming individuals who’ve been  killed due to bigotry, ignorance and violence.

The homicide of non-cisgender (someone who doesn’t identify with the sex they were born as) people is an epidemic not frequently spoken about.  Though acceptance is growing, it is not consistent in communities across America and specifically in Texas. In 2018, at least 26 gender diverse people were murdered, 30 in 2019, and 37  people so far this year.

These numbers don’t take into account people who haven’t come out, didn’t have accepting families or simply weren’t recognized as being non-cisgender. A great majority of these deaths are black and brown transgender women, which should be acknowledged.

Moving into the future, one can only hope for more recognition and affirmation in their identities, particularly in the government, where rights were previously threatened. Though with president-elect, Joe Biden, it doesn’t seem there needs to be much hope, as just today he tweeted, acknowledging the amount of transgender deaths and specifically the black and brown individuals, saying, “To transgender and gender-nonconforming people across America and around the world, from the moment I am sworn in as president, know that my administration will see you, listen to you, and fight for not only your safety, but also the dignity and justice you have been denied.”