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After A Week Like This One, You Might Need Some Calm

Chaise A. Fountain, TPWD
Water tanks at Government Canyon SNA

As frenetic a week as it's been, maybe you can make this weekend all about calm. Here are a few ideas: Head over to University of Texas at San Antonio for some classical guitar. Take a nature hike through Government Canyon. Then, take a historical stroll along the Mission Reach. All these ideas should be good for what ails you.

Credit Cindy Solis
Dr. Isaac Bustos at left, with students

First, head out to UTSA’s Loop 1604 campus for classical guitar. The Music Department's Dr. Isaac Bustos has revived the Southwest Guitar Symposium, featuring guitar performances.

“Tonight we begin the show with a concert that I am playing with one of my flute colleagues, Dr. Rachel Wood, my other guitar colleague Professor Johnny Pena, and then the UTSA Guitar Ensemble,” he said. “We're playing that show tonight at 7 p.m. at the UTSA Recital Hall.”

Friday and Saturday are evening concerts, but also at 4 p.m. Saturday Bustos said they’re featuring former students called the Morningstar Guitar Duo.

Credit courtesy the artists
Morningstar, Ashley Lucero and Susana Frade

"One of them is our current graduate student Susana Frade from Cuba, and then Ashley Lucero who is a former UTSA graduate.” 

This weekend full of high end classical guitar playing is, for those who come, a real steal.

"All the concerts are free and open to the public," he said. 

IF YOU GO What:  Southwest Guitar Symposium Where: UTSA Recital Hall, Loop 1604 campus When: various Cost:  free

Then on Saturday morning if you want to get out and see some nature, Nic Maloukis has a good place for that.

"We have Hike The Canyon and Explore the Canyon," he said.

Credit Chaise A. Fountain, TPWD
at Government Canyon

The canyon Maloukis is talking about is Government Canyon State Natural Area on the city's far northwest side. He characterizes those two different hikes this way.

"Hike the Canyon is more of a recreational hike. And the goal is to get out there and move around and see some cool stuff. Explore the Canyon is usually at a slower pace and is going to be more of a traditional interpretive hike. We're literally going to stop and smell the flowers, look at the rocks, talk about the different animals we're seeing and hearing."

This Saturday is Hike The Canyon; next Saturday is Explore the Canyon and both leave from the visitor center at 8:30. As to what kind of wildlife you might see...

"Wild turkey, foxes, coyotes sometimes. You'll hear them more than you'll see them. Deer every once in a while, all sorts of birds," Maloukis said.

Credit Chaise A. Fountain
Government Canyon State Natural Area

IF YOU GO What:  Hike The Canyon Where: Government Canyon State Natural Area When: 8:30 a.m. Saturday Cost:  $6, 12 and under are free

Also still in nature, but a more urban version is the Mission Reach, which the San Antonio River Authority’s Kristen Hansen described.

Credit San Antonio River Authority
Concepcion portal

"The Mission Reach is a 9-mile eco-restoration project," said Hansen.

Hansen manages the watershed parks, and knows it well.

"We've got hike-n-bike trails and river access points for kayaking and canoeing," she said.

There's a reason it's called the Mission Reach: four missions dot that 9 miles south of downtown. And if you wish, as part of your hike or bike tour, you can visit those missions.

"We have trails that lead you from the actual Mission Reach all the way to the parking lot of the Missions," she said.

Occasional art installations also dot the Mission Reach trail, including the new one you may have missed.

Credit San Antonio River Authority
San Antonio River scene

"It's called the Tree of Life and that's been open for less than a year. And it looks like a tree, but it's all ceramic pieces,” Hansen said. “If you haven't seen it, it's a beautiful piece of work."

The Mission Reach is quite beautiful, and for those on a budget, one of the best entertainment deals out there.

"It's free of course!" she said. 

If you want to rent a kayak, they’re available where Southwest Military crosses the river. They're not free, but walking and biking are. 

IF YOU GO What: The Mission Reach  Where: San Antonio River starting a Guenther Street When: any time Cost:  free

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii