I decided that my next outdoor adventure in San Antonio was a visit to the Japanese Tea Gardens. Resolving to use whatever public transportation was available, I walked one block down from the hotel, hopped on the #7 bus and headed north towards the gardens. Within 15 minutes, I was standing at the entrance to the gardens.
Once inside, I sensed the calming influence that filled this small oasis. I paused a bit to take in the carefully laid out landscape; a structure meant to encourage the user to pause and meditate. The walkway beyond the entrance, looked down upon a peaceful haven of stone bordered gardens, ponds supporting lily pads and koi, and a waterfall.
Rather that step down into the gardens immediately, I decided to explore the upper level for a bit and headed down a dirt path that lead through the woods. This route seemed to head towards the zoo and exhibited no apparent association with the formal gardens. I spotted a small trail that lead me up towards a dirt road that was pretty open and barren looking. Since it gave the appearance of a maintenance road, I turned around to proceed in the opposite direction. When the trail continued beyond an open gate, I decided it was time to head back towards the formal gardens. Looking off into the woods on my way back, I found evidence of someone encouraging the cat population, spotting the occasional small enclosed structure and cans of food.
Back at the gardens, I headed down one of the stone walkways towards the waterfall at the far end. Along the way, I discovered another path meandering back towards the tea-house. It was a bit more enclosed, with vegetation creeping into the walkway but still part of the formal gardens. Just as I was about to head down this road, I spied a rather hairy black cat walking upon this route ahead of me. As it jumped over the stone border, I noticed the lovely spiky white stripe down its back. Discretion being the better part of valor, I decided that I did not need to explore this particular path and moved on, leaving the skunk to its territory.
Reaching the waterfall, I looked across the ponds toward the stone pavilion above the gardens. I enjoyed the stillness that exuded from this scene. As I crossed over the stone bridges and walked around the ponds, I thought that is would be nice to sit for a time and become completely immersed in the calm atmosphere that was clearly the intent of those who planned this haven. But alas, there was not a bench to be found, so I walked up to the stone pavilion, sat on one of the steps and gazed at the waterfall before continuing on to the Botanical Gardens.