• Chris Belcher

Four Seasons in Mud Creek Park

Updated: May 15

The pandemic was a stressful time for many in San Antonio after the shutdowns kept many residents at home longer than normal.

I decided to explore the San Antonio parks to get out of my house and to enjoy the peace that nature brought me. It relieved the anxiety I felt from my anxiety disorder and became a passion that I continue today.

The dirt trail along Mud Creek . Photo by: Chris Belcher

The park I spent the most time in during the pandemic was Mud Creek Park. Mud Creek Park is a 67-acre park upstream from the Mud Creek Dam. It has dirt trails that are perfect for walking, running, and biking. Keep in mind that it does get muddy after it rains. The park is accessible from Jones Maltsberger Rd.

Mud Creek Park is a short walk from my house and that made it convenient for me to get out into nature when I needed relief from my anxiety. That convenience meant I got to see Mud Creek Park during all four seasons.

I started exploring Mud Creek park before the pandemic shut everything down and I was able to see it while it was still dry in the winter of 2020. Then spring came and with it the rains. I got to see Mud Creek with water flowing down the creek bed. Water standing in large areas in the flood plains upstream from the dam. The water brought flowers, turned the park green, and for a short while brought mosquitos too. Seeing the spring whitetail fawns was almost magical to me and I enjoyed watching them as they tried to figure out what the crazy guy with the camera was doing.

The water from the spring rains dried up as we moved into summer and a drought took hold in San Antonio. The park could be brutally hot during the middle of the day, but it was still filled with birds, trees, deer, and dragonflies. Thankfully, the mosquitoes had gone away, and I could explore without fear of losing a pint of blood. I was able to see the hawks that make the park home several times throughout the summer and constantly saw Northern Cardinals winging their way across the park.

Fall in Mud Creek Park was a good time to explore. The temperatures began to come down, but the drought continued. I found amazing things as I explored the park. The skull of an opossum lying next to the trail. Deer bones scattered around after a coyote had finished its meal. Squirrels rustling in the trees around me. Even the hawks gliding away when I surprised them. It was a place I slipped away to when I needed a break from stress and anxiety by surrounding myself with nature.

Some of the leaves on trees in Mud Creek Park turn red in the fall. Photo by: Chris Belcher

Snow blankets the ground along Mud Creek on Feb. 18, 2021. Photo by: Chris Belcher

Then we slipped into winter. The drought continued through the winter and Mud Creek stayed dry. I explored the park and enjoyed the feeling of having nature all around me. I got to see some amazing things. An injured whitetail buck limping along feeding. I spotted him several times and was relieved that he was still there.

A Whitetail Deer runs across the trail in Mud Creek Park during the Feb. 18, 2021 snowstorm. Photo by: Chris Belcher

In February, a snowstorm hit San Antonio. Seeing the park with a mantle of white was a magical experience. I don’t expect to see that again for a long time, but it was amazing seeing the deer slipping through the falling snow like grey ghosts. I worried about the impact of the extended below freezing temperatures, but nature always has a way of coming through.

I’ve enjoyed seeing Mud Creek Park through four seasons and I’m looking forward to seeing it for another four. Join me as I explore the parks found in San Antonio. You can share in my adventures as I discover nature all around us and the history of our great city.

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