The United States has 3,144 counties and county equivalents. Delaware has three. Texas has 254. Two hundred and fifty four! Given enough time, you can walk ’em all. And the Texas County Walkers can help.
The Texas County Walkers is a unique club in the American Volkssport Association. Started in 2010, it’s goal is to ensure that there are walks in remote, sparsely populated Texas counties and in areas where there aren’t any AVA clubs. Texas is BIG. If you were to drive on Interstate 10 from one end to the other you would be on the road for 14 hours (879 miles), from Texarkana in the east to Brownsville in the west. Some of these counties are just about empty of people. Only 113 folks live in Loving County, 677 square miles, about half-way between Odessa, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. More than half — 150 of the 254 counties — have populations less than 25,000. As you can see from the map, there are 28 clubs in Texas, but most are clustered in the population centers. There are big, empty spaces.
The Texas County Walkers fills the gap. Every year they host a few year-round events of their own, usually in counties that have never experienced a Volksmarch before. This year they are hosting five. They also encourage other clubs to host county walks: in 2017 the East Texas Trekkers and the Houston Happy Hikers are hosting three each. Since they started, the Texas County Walkers have facilitated walks in more than 60 Texas Counties that had never seen a Volksmarcher before. They also sell a little booklet that you can purchase for $10 (send a check plus your name, address, phone & e-mail address to Texas County Walkers, c/o Helen Bateman, 3321 Dartmoor Drive, Dallas, TX 75229.) This is NOT an AVA special program and you cannot stamp it with an official stamp, but it’s a great way to keep track of the counties where you have walked.
So here’s the news: the Texas Trail Roundup is going to host two — maybe three — Texas County Walks in 2018. We already have routes mapped out for Jourdanton (Atascosa County) and Pearsall (Frio County.) It looks like we might also pick up Live Oak County. They are all clumped together an hour (or two) south of San Antonio. We’ll keep you posted!