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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Austin, Texas : Mansfield Dam Park

A very nice park on Lake Travis.  10 bucks a car or free if you are over 62 :)  They do have 6 primitive campsites, but mainly it is a place to launch boats, swim, have a picnic, or practice diving.
The nature walk-  this sidewalk takes you along all the sights of the park.  To walk the entire length is about 2 miles.  It is a nice walk, mainly shady.
The section of the nature walk was nicely done with markers for different trees etc...

The shore line
Lake Travis as seen from Hudson Bend Peninsula 

a passing boat made some waves.
did a little wading and yes, it felt great!

one of the swimming areas; the picnic are is up along that hill
Lots of places to have a picnic; this site had a nice view and close to swimming area
Time to put those brisket and ribs on! You can see the dam in the background.
Mansfield Dam as seen from lake
The swimming area; it is always amazing how clear the water is in the Hill Country

The black vultures really liked the swimming area
A turkey vulture in flight 

Looking for handouts

nice to have that as a park amenity
Huge playground for kids plus a big rock climbing wall to tire them out in case swimming did not do the trick :)

now wouldn't that be nice to have a backyard like this!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Austin, Texas - Wild Basin Preserve Hike

The preserve is off of 360 a few miles from Ranch Road 2222.  There are 2.5 miles of trails that take you down to a small canyon and follows along a creek to a waterfall. Click to enlarge to see trail system.

Several trails to choose from .

along the creek bed, the walk is pretty and shaded at least

This use to be a creek crossing...

Some wildflowers still remain

The trail has some ups and downs

Part of the spring fed creek that has a bit of water in it

No waterfall ...just a trickle from the spring fed creek above.  But there was a good amount of water in the pond area

up we go...the terrain was much prettier down by the creek; it is a decent hike; not as pretty as the hike in River Place or Bull Creek, but okay.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Spicewood, Texas ( Near Austin) - Grelle Recreation Area

Grelle Rec Area is in Spicewood Texas, abut 30 miles west of Austin off Hwy 71.   Krause Springs is right before you get to this area.   Great primitive camping with water views.  From the parking area near campsite 10, we took Wild Turkey trail.  For the first half mile it pretty much looked like this. Some elevation gain, but nothing that wore you out.  Overall the trail was easy walking but very poorly marked.  A lot of trails interescted and we just kinda guessed at which way to go.  We had a trail map, but that was not much help.  Luckily, we came across some horse riders that gave us some direction.

Live Oaks make a natural canopy for a campsite
at this point, think we are on the Cottonwood trail or Overlook is descending down to Lake Travis

a peek at the lake from the trail.
Varied terrain and lots of interesting rocks on the lower trails. The upper trail was sandy.

Nice hiding spot

Perfect roofless natural room. All you need is a tarp for a roof, some sleeping bags, and a campfire . It would be roomy enough for many people.

Lakeside there were many butterflies

And a big bumble bee
nice view of the lake by campground area...Overall, the hike we took was about 2.7 miles.  Wish the trails were better marked so we could tell you what trail we were on :)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Austin, Texas- River Place Nature Trail

Some of the best hiking we have had since leaving Colorado.  This hike is located off 2222 close to 620 in a subdivision called River Place.  We started at the top right on the Canyon Trail; then followed the Upper Panther Trail to the Lower Panther Trail and then turned right at the Little Fern Trail.

Easy start, but the first mile and a half had a lot of steps; a lot of going up and down, but at least it has shade.

Coming up on a curvy path

a lot of water crossings, but no water :(

Seriously, there are a lot of steps!  To the left is where there would be a creek...there were several up and down climbs along the first mile of the trail.  Trail was well maintained though. 

 One of the best hikes in Austin area for getting in some serious elevation changes Here is a peek of the golf course from the trail.
Interesting hike ...

finally some flat ground!  The creek is to the right which you walk along for quite a way.

If you click and enlarge this, to the left you will see an American Beauty bush; there were a lot of them along the Lower Panther Creek

there is a warning sign we have not seen before :)

a natural spring feeds this pool

Different rock strata in this cliff

Overall, must do hike; great challenges, interesting things to look at

we'll be back...maybe when it is ten degrees cooler :)