Hiking Weather

Merely a few images captured during a recent autumn hike on the greenbelt.

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The people you meet on the Hike and Bike Trail

There’s nothing like a torrential downpour to make a girl appreciate a Sun-soaked Sunday. And there is no better way to spend said Sunday than with a romp around Lady Bird Lake with your adorable labradoodle friends. So, that’s what I did.

Apparently everyone in Austin had the same idea, because the trail was as busy as I’d ever seen it. Fortunately with 1o miles of terrain from end-to-end, there was enough trail to enable the peaceful coexistence of hippies and yuppies alike.  Please allow me to elaborate on some of the more interesting characters you will find scooting along the sandy shoreline.

1.) Super intense, no-time-for-funny-business-or-smiles workout buff.
Not to be confused with casual, chatty, on-a-light-jog-with-my-friends-or-my-dog exerciser. Those folks exist too, but I’m far less aware of their presence than the previously mentioned work out machines. No duh the trail is a great place to exercise, but some folks take it to an extremely intimidating level. They whiz past at light speed, sporting a “move it or lose it” attitude and are usually wearing work out attire that costs more than an uppity designer dog (or they are hardly wearing anything at all except a shiny, sweaty six pack that makes me hate myself on many levels). Sometimes they pass with an army of other runners and sometimes they fly solo, but every time I spot them I dangle my head in shame knowing I will never join their ranks and feel slightly self conscious that I am some how ruining their workout routine with my slow-footed pace. Sorry, work out man. I’ll try and keep out of your way.

2.) Person on bike who comes dangerously close to running you over.
I know, I know it’s called the hike AND BIKE trail, but this might be the one place in Austin where cyclists are at a disadvantage. There are far too many off-leash dogs, tiny children and meandering pedestrians for you to truly enjoy that bike ride. You can ring that bell all you want but at some point you’re gonna have to tap the breaks and dismount to make way for the golden retriever and its hip stroller-pushing mother making their way to turtle cove.

3.) Posse of hipsters
Wearing some article of neon clothing and probably equipped with an ironic accessory like a vintage camera or dated walkman, the hipsters flock to the trail just like the dog walkers, out of town visitors and work out enthusiasts do. So glad nature and sunshine are still “in.”

4.) Person with out of control/too many dogs.
I’m kind of definitely talking about myself here. I love the doodles with all my heart, but sometimes they are a bit much for the trail. Wyatt pulls on the leash like he’s towing a sled of expectant mothers to the hospital, and Stella has to stop and pee on just about everything—and what she doesn’t pee on, she has to stop and sniff. We’re the people that have to apologize to every other dog walker for allowing our muts to get all up in their business.  Off leash, things aren’t much better. Wyatt morphs into a hyperactive toddler, screaming with glee at every little dog and leaf and speck of dust that passes him by. Stella jumps into the swampy shore water every chance she gets, usually stealing toys from other dogs. Sorry trail mates, for screwing up your hiking experience with our exuberant Ewoks.

5.) Person riding the trendiest new water craft device.
In the past it was kayaks, then it was the stand up paddle board. This go ’round everyone was all about the hydrocycle. And that’s pretty cool, I guess. You’re certainly not going to be running across poorly trained muppet dogs out on the water, so why not hydrocycle really? Way to be, water lovers. Land is for wusses.

Even with aggressive athletes and trendy under-aged hipsters, I love, Love LOVE my time on the trail. At the end of a walk, run or row there’s a undeniable sense of camaraderie with the fellow trail goers despite varying preferences in pooch or pace. It’s our special piece of earth where nature coexists with urban sprawl…and that’s a pretty cool thing to be able to share.

Hiking at Bastrop State Park

After spending all of Friday night and Saturday day working, I felt entitled to a little road trip once Sunday rolled around. So we packed a picnic and the doodles and drove an hour east on Highway 71 to Bastrop for a hike in the lost pines of Bastrop State Park.

Heath’s 4,000-year-old hiking boots broke on the hike, so we had to tie the sole to the rest of the shoe with plastic bags. Elegant.

Our picnic in the pines, reduced fat of course.