Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hamilton Pool Preserve

For Father's Day, we decided to spend the day at Hamilton Pool Preserve - A collapsed grotto (cave) and canyon that was formed by thousands of years of water erosion. It's been several years since we'd been out there and we were anxious to go hiking and swimming.

The area used to be inhabited by the Tonkawa and Lipan Apaches. The pool was named after Morgan Hamilton in the 1800's, who's brother had served as the 10th governor of Texas.

The Cypres trees, tropical ferns, and diverse foliage almost feels prehistoric. (Don't forget to click photo's to enlarge.)
If anyone is thinking of visiting this preserve, arrive EARLY. The park only allows 75 cars and will start turning people away. We left our house at 9:00 a.m. and tried to beat the crowds. The preserve is only 30 miles Southwest of Austin. A gorgeous drive through the hill country.

The path we took followed alongside a creek.
The grotto, and people (the early birds) swimming!

We didn't waste time jumping in...
Josh, wearing his new Hawaiian shirt that his fiance' (and future sister-in-laws) had purchased for him. He wanted me to make sure to take this picture so they could see him wearing it. haha
I decided to hike around the grotto before jumping in the water...

50 foot cascades...

I spotted several (what looked like cave entrances) throughout our hike.

Go Cowboys!

Lush ferns...
Due to the drought, the waterfall had been reduced to a trickle...

After we swam, we decided to hike to the Pedernales river. This is a 1.5 mile hike that tags alongside the creek...

At the river and less crowds! More than likely we were the crazy ones for hiking in 100+ degree temps. Over my shoulder, I carried a large tote bag filled with apples, bottled water, beef jerky, camera, and everyone's wallets and keys... Yes, I'm the pack mule.

A refreshing swim in the Pedernales - it was truly wonderful. Every so often our feet caught the cool currents of the aquafer... What a beautiful day!

Afterwards, we lugged back up the hill and followed the trail... (For those who decide to visit the park, the trail is DOWN HILL to the grotto, but UP HILL back to the parking lot. The trail from the river and the grotto meets at a fork, but BOTH take the same trail back to the parking lot.)

We arrived at the car, gulped down more water and blasted the air conditioner. It was around 1:30, and after a couple miles of hiking, we were ready for LUNCH! By the way, as we pulled out of the park entrance there was a LONG LINE of cars being turned away. Get there EARLY!

Nutty Nathan

Everytime we're near hwy 290, we stop at Nutty Brown Cafe to eat. (This restaurant used to be a praline shop - Nutty Brown Mills - a former roadside attraction known for their candy and neon cowboy sign welcoming folks to Austin.)

We like going there for their live music and good food.

By the way, check out their chicken fried steaks. Their burgers are yummy too!

Homeward bound! I think my nose has a sunburn...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!!! place.. I'd love to go there.