A Carnivorous Conservative

I started out for the meat. I ended up with the plants. That’s how my day went Saturday. A massive hamburger’s picture graced the cover of August’s Texas Monthly. I noticed it then (how could you miss it?), but failed to realize that we both were Kendall County residents! After a friend dispelled my ignorance, a relaxing 29-mile back-road drive landed me at Alamo Springs Cafe, next to the bat cave (Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area) 15 miles northeast of Comfort.

Texas Monthly ranked the Caf©’s green chile and avocado cheeseburger (now known by locals as “cover burger”) third best in the state. I didn’t need a menu, only about 45 napkins.

The plastic basket in which the masterpiece arrived doubled as a grease trap. While I ate with my hands, I did use a fork to leverage the burger out of the basket following each bite and subsequent hand wipe (one industrial strength napkin required per hand per wipe).

I got up from the table tipsy, and not because of my IBC root beer, as enjoyable as it was. Combined with the hand-breaded French fries my waitress had upsold me on, the burger’s transfats pulsated through my veins. I was happy.

After lunch and an angioplasty, I toured the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Its centerpiece: a railroad tunnel abandoned by humans in the 1930s and inhabited by 3 million Brazillian free-tailed bats today.

Though the smallest of the state’s WMAs, Old Tunnel’s 16 acres of wooded trails and viewing areas make it a prize of Kendall County. I couldn’t stay for the dusk bat show, but I hear the barber bats can give you quite a haircut.

On the way back south, I visited for the first time Kendall County’s 24-acre James Kiehl River Bend Park east of Comfort. The peaceful waterfront tract was appropriately named for the 22-year-old Army specialist whose convoy was ambushed during the 2003 coalition invasion of Iraq. All gave some. He gave all.

Under the leadership of Judge Gaylan Schroeder, the county has embarked on an ambitious parkland acquisition and development initiative. In four years, the county has gone from owning no parkland to nearly 550 acres today. That’s a liberal conservation agenda this conservative concurs with.

With child development experts lamenting the lack of time kids spend exploring nature, the parks could not have come at a better time.

Together with City of Boerne parks, Cibolo Nature Center, Guadalupe River State Park and the aforementioned, Kendall County is teeming with outdoor opportunity. Take advantage of the adventure before Nintendo releases a hiking game for the Wii. I’ll need more than a Wii to work off that cover burger!

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