All posts filed under: Great Outdoors

Blanco State Park

A quick 1-hour drive west took us out to Blanco State Park this summer. It’s a pretty small park along a bend in the Blanco River on the south edge of town. But it was a perfect spot for a swim and a picnic. My brother joined us for the outing, and we left in the morning before the park got crowded. We picked a spot under the shade of whatever huge trees were growing along the bank and set up our blanket and chairs. We really should invest in a portable tent shade because it got sunny really fast as soon as the sun moved over the trees. The people behind us had the right idea. For a while, our kids just sat and ate watermelon. My husband was the first to get into the river, and eventually, the Big Kid got brave enough to go in the shallow end. It’s a pretty slippery entry with algae and whatnot growing on the rocks. We were glad to have the foresight to bring floaty noodles …

Texas Peaker Gathering

While this is my second year doing My Peak Challenge, I never got too involved in the community aspect. I’m juggling so many online groups and social media accounts that the best I could do to stay involved was lurk from the outskirts. When a group of Peakers gathered in Central Texas last year, I had a FOMO moment and made sure to seek out more opportunities to meet people in person. Yesterday, I drove out to Burnet where the third Texas Peaker Gathering took place. I wanted to meet the ladies and offered to take them through an all-levels yoga practice. I’d only met one of the Peakers there in person before (Hi, Amy!). I nearly met another Peaker (Hey, Pam!), but we missed each other. Pam kindly took the group photo so I could be included, so I photoshopped her in. 😉 Everyone else was a picture and name on the internet. It was SO LOVELY to see people face-to-face! We took our practice nice and slow, focusing on breath and grounding. I …

Palmetto State Park

In late spring, we took an hour-ish drive southeast to Gonzalez, TX to Palmetto State Park. It’s a strange little oasis of swamp-like waters and ancient palmettos. This is what the area looks like as we turned off the highway toward the park. Rather bare and desolate, right? But as soon as you go down the highway and into the park grounds, it’s suddenly green everywhere. The palmettos came in large patches among the trees. The state park isn’t huge by any means. There were only a few hiking trails, with the longest being 1.25 miles. That was the San Marcos River Trail, which was the start of our hike. It followed the San Marcos River and then connected to the Mesquite Flats Trail, which was another 1.08 miles. That then connected to the Palmetto Interpretive Trail (a short quarter mile), featuring a boardwalk and scenic resting areas. If I could succinctly describe what it’s like to go hiking with two little kids, it mostly involves the following: promises of snack breaks and daddy carrying …

It’s My Park Day

Now that my kids are getting a little older, we’ve been making it a point to get outdoors more. This means more visits to local, state, and national parks. More hiking, more playing, and more adventures. Every single park we’ve visited this year (I still have more I haven’t gotten around to blogging about) has been well organized and maintained in the information available, the trails, camping reservations, and so on. I know that this is possible not only by Park Rangers and staff but also by all the many volunteers who put countless hours into making our parks so great. This morning, my family went to Garrison Park in south Austin for It’s My Park Day. This is the second year in a row that the Big Kid and I have volunteered. Bear Shark wanted to help too when I told him he might be able to help plant things, so we all signed up as a family. It was cloudy and humid, but the occasional breeze helped. We were creating a wildflower garden …

Inks Lake State Park

We visited Inks Lake State Park at the peak of wildflower and bluebonnet season. With our State Parks Pass in hand, we wanted to find a park that was within a short drive (in case there was a freak-out moment) so the boys could have their first camping experience. Inks Lake has waterfront cabins in addition to tent camping, and that worked out perfectly for our family. Heads up that Central Texas campsites at many state parks fill up FAST in the spring. We booked this trip a month ahead to get a Friday night spot. It only got more crowded by Saturday. Checking other parks’ availability nearby, many were booked up on weekends almost 2 months ahead. Besides our Parks Pass, the best investment we made was picking up a Chillax Hammock from Costco. They normally retail for $70, and Costco was selling them for $35. The Big Kid spent the entire afternoon and early evening, lounging in the hammock. If the night hadn’t gotten chilly, he probably would’ve slept in it too. Thankfully, my husband …

Pedernales Falls State Park

The last time my husband and I went out to Pedernales Falls State Park, we had our old dog Boo Boo with us. To get to the falls, you have to scale some pretty large boulders, and I kind of forgot how much effort it took, especially when you’re trying to get a 65-lb dog who isn’t a jumper up and over. Eight years later, no dog but two kids… same huge boulders. It took some effort between my husband and I to pass kids over crevices to make sure no one fell into holes or moving water. It also took quite a bit of effort to keep Bear Shark from trying to jump off of boulders that were taller than him! On our way to Twin Falls, we accidentally took a more scenic trail down the hill to the river that’s part of Trammell’s Crossing Trail. It was a fun little detour, climbing over rocks and following the natural “stairs” that led downhill, but it also meant we needed to make the hike back …

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