First, let me apologize for this post to all of you "up North" who are shivering in below freezing temps or -- gasp -- shoveling the "S" stuff so you can get to the store to buy bread, milk, and toilet paper! But here in south Texas it's beach weather, and the lovely barrier island, South Padre, is less than an hour away.
South Padre is actually in the "off season" now -- things really get going around spring break, when all the sun-worshiping kids who don't go to Daytona show up here. There were ads for snorkeling, para-sailing, horseback riding on the beach, dolphin watches, and, my favorite -- taking sandcastle-making classes for -- get this -- $75 an hour! Whoever thought up that career should get an Entrepreneur-of-the-Year Award!
We were there on the weekend, and the sun was shining, the waves were high, the pelicans were hunting, the surfers were paddling (and sometimes riding, sometimes falling), and the beach was perfect for walking. The sand is very compacted here, and soft on the bare feet. A lot of children were playing in the surf, but I'm guessing the beach would be almost deserted during the week when they are -- hopefully -- back in school.
The Padre Islands are a group of barrier islands that run from Corpus Christi, 160 miles to the north, to Brownsville, the southern-most point in Texas. The upper portion is a National Seashore, while the lower portion is the spring break playground. The island almost runs into the spot where the Rio Grande used to dump into the Gulf of Mexico -- I say used to, because the amount of water siphoned off for drinking and irrigation is now most of the river. This site on Google Maps shows the water puddling just short of the Gulf, its exit blocked by sand -- sand that the Rio Grande itself may once have deposited there.