Sunday, February 25, 2007

San Antonio Missions

Photograph: Padre Island NS Dunes.

The San Antonio Mission Trail is spread out over town for nine miles. The trail includes the Alamo which is right in the centeer of town and a wildly popular tourist stop. More interesting are the five Spanish missions that make up the San Antonio Missions Historical Park.

Photograph: San Antonio Mission Trail - Mission San Juan. Photograph: San Antonio MissionTrail - Mission Concepcion.

These are all working churches and great examples of early Spanish architecture. There were few people at most of these missions on a sunny Monday, with the exception of the visitor's center at Mission San Jose. This is the only mission that has a parking lot big enough for the big tour busses.

Photograph: San Antonio Mission Trail - Mission Espada.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Padre Island National Seashore

Photograph: Padre Island NS Dunes.

We visited San Padre Island National Seashore in south Texas over the weekend. There were just a few people on the natural beach area, but an abundance of wildlife and sunshine.

Photograph: Padre Island NS Heron.Photograph: Padre Island NS shoreline with clouds and waves.

Oil drilling platforms are visible off in the distance and there is oil and gas exploration at the park. The visitor's center warns about the tar that washes up onto the beach from all of the oil production in the area and about the dangers of medical and chemical debris that ends up on shore as a result of the prevailing currents. While there's a mile or two of natural beach, the vast majority of the shoreline is open to four wheel drive vehicles. In fact, the beaches are designated Texas public highways.

Photograph: Padre Island NS vehicles on the beach.