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All posts for the day April 1st, 2016

This isn’t an official South Texas Destination — yet.  But it will be eventually, so I’m categorizing it as one.

As I believe I’ve said before, my plan is to eventually visit the entire Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System, which, since they’re still building more trails, is a pretty long-term project.  I also hope to walk the entire River Walk, but that’s a different project entirely.

I now have walked the Leon Creek Greenway almost from the Valero Trailhead at 1604 to the Leon Vista Trailhead.  I estimate that that is about 7 or 8 miles of walking.  When I say “almost,” I have missed two spots.  One, from Fox Park northwards to just north of the Northside Independent School District bus parking lot, will be pretty easy to knock out if they ever finish the construction on Hausman Road.  Just getting to the parking lot for the Fox Park Trailhead is a challenge at the moment.

The other missed section will require a chauffeur.  I walked south from the Buddy Caulk Trailhead and north from the Leon Vista Trailhead and in the time allotted to me, I missed meeting these two paths up by about two blocks.  I will need someone to drive me to the closest street to that area to drop me off, then that person will need to pick me up twenty minutes later.  This will be something that I will leave to the very end of the project.

Next up will be from the Mainland Trailhead (behind the Bandera Road Walmart) north to the Leon Vista Trailhead and then south from the Leon Vista Trailhead as far as I can go.  I don’t think I can make it all the way to the next parking lot, which looks like it’s a couple of miles away.

I’d better load more 1880s National Geographics onto my phone for this one.

Untamed Antarctica, by Freddie Wilkinson, photographs by Cory Richards

I frequently tell people that I want to go “everywhere.” And I really do.  However, if going to places like Kenya and India and the Netherlands and Australia mean that places like the Wohlthat Mountains end up being squeezed out, i won’t be too disappointed.

Wilkinson, Richards, and two other adventurers, Mike Libecki and Keith Ladzinski, went off to the unclimbed mountains of Queen Maud Land in Antarctica with the goal of summitting as many mountains as they could.   We accompany the team up a spire that they name Bertha’s Tower, named apparently for Libecki’s grandmother.  They take two weeks to climb Bertha’s Tower, and at one point, Wilkinson has to spend the night outside of their shelter in just a sleeping bag.

Untamed Antarctica was a very quick read, and I found it fascinating, but the desire to follow in their footsteps just wasn’t there.

Kinshasa, Urban Pulse of the Congo, by Robert Draper, photographs by Pascal Maitre

We’re back in Africa again, only there’s not so much unrest this time. Rather, Kinshasa, Urban Pulse of the Congo, is about the art scene in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  We meet painters and sculptors and performers, seeing how they express their fears and concerns and, sometimes, their hopes.

All is, of course, not rosy.  This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo here.  Draper has to deal with street children and corrupt officials.  But Draper makes it through and even gets to comission a painting of his dog from one of the artists profiled.

We will see/have seen the team of Pascal and Maitre in October 2015, when they travel up the Congo River to Kisangani.

Failure is an Option, by Hannah Bloch

Failure is an Option is a meditation on failure and the importance of failing.  Failure is an important, and possibly even necessary, part of progress.  Before you learn what you can do, you sometimes have to learn what you can’t.

My own favorite meditation on failure, by the way, is the 2007 Disney movie Meet the Robinsons.  As Billie Robinson says, From failing, you learn.  From success, not so much.