It is funny, in the late spring, when the grocery stores advertise their grilling recipes, as if grilling is somehow associated with summer. One of the reasons why Austin is the best city in the world is that it really is almost never too cold to grill. Just wear a jacket if it is chilly. Put on the patio light if has gotten dark early. The meat will still get done and it will still be delicious.
Hiking is the same. It feels like a summer activity sometimes, but really, you can hike in Austin any time of year. For one thing, sometimes it is 75 degrees in December. For another, as long as it isn’t below freezing, you can put on a jacket or a coat and be just fine. (Check out our near freezing hike last year.)
Blue Eyes, Sparkles, Buttercup and I hiked Barton Creek, #4 Homedale Access, the other day. Well, we call it rock climbing instead of hiking, because Sparkles loves rock climbing, but not hiking. I chose this spot because it is as rocky as they come. For the 5+ crowd, there are areas full of boulders that make for a 3-dimensional hike. I especially like the curves and dips of the rock formations on the creek bed. I wonder why the rock is washed away by the water in some places and why it lasts forever in others. I also wonder about the plants that can grow in the rock, with the smallest amount of dirt for their roots to grow.
As the holidays get more and more hectic, I’m going to remember to take a holiday hike now and then, to get away from the busy and remember the wonder.
I don’t know how the science of this all works, I just know that it can be 104 degrees outside and if you get wet it isn’t too hot anymore. I love that. Well, I love October weather more, but it still feels good to get wet on a hot summer day. This is a picture from when the girls, their Uncle and I headed to the free part of Barton Springs, just north of the main pool, for a quick dip. (This is where the dogs hang out, so it isn’t such a good spot if your little kids don’t get along with dogs.) This part of Barton Springs is also free, so not only does the science work out, the math does too.
Find more information about Barton Creek on Austin Kids Hike, this story is from Trail Head #6.
(Disclaimer: This happened about a month ago. Lately, we haven’t been hiking very much. Yes, sure, it is cool in the water when it is 104 degrees outside, but there is the getting there and getting back in the car that is 140 degrees inside. Hmm, I’ll let y’all know if I come up with any bright ideas to help us through the rest of this summer.)
Buttercup was a little worried.
“He OK, Mommy?” she asked. “He gunna fall.”
I talk to Sparkles and Buttercup using vocabulary they don’t understand because they figure it out. I told them about the ropes and belts and the bolts coming out from the rock to clip onto. It was something to get your head around, if you knew the effects of gravity from falling out of a chair and the cliff wall was waaaaayyyyy taller than a chair.
Do you know how you usually walk, putting one foot in front of the other, without thinking about it at all? I like hiking on the trails and along the bed of Barton Creek because the ground is uneven, there are rocks and roots and twigs and boulders and you have to pay attention. You have to be there in the moment and think about simple things like how to put each foot in front of the other to get from one boulder to the next.
Don’t worry, Butttercup, he’s not going to fall and neither are we.
Find more information about Barton Creek on Austin Kids Hike, this story is from Trail Head #2.