Category Archives: Parks & Recreation

National, State and Local Parks, public land wildlife and recreational activities.

Enchanted Rock, Day Trip From Austin.

0529K 001If you can deal with the price of today’s gasoline, pack up your car with hiking supplies and head out west!  Or better yet, take the motorcycle through the winding roads of the hillcountry of Austin.  However you get there, walking on top of Enchanted Rock is a must for at least one time.  Some of us fall in love with the place and return to visit at least a handful of times.  Even if the trips are years apart from each other, when you arrive again you will see that the giant hill of granite has not changed an inch and is just like you left it last. Continue reading Enchanted Rock, Day Trip From Austin.

Fishing for Carp in Lake Austin

Two carp on the banks of Town Lake, but one guy ran from posing for the photo because there was yet another fish on!

Riding along the hike/bike trail around Town Lake, I came across some guys with a lot of fishing gear spread out on the bank.  Complete with two weigh stations, this crew looked like they were after some mysterious Loch Ness type beast.  Within a few minutes, the guys became excited as two of their fishing poles bent with promise.

They reeled in two huge carp and before they could weigh the second and pose for a photo, another pole began to show action.  It was almost sunset on a regular Saturday afternoon, with a concert underway on the other side of the river at Auditorium Shores, and this group of fishermen were gathering lots of attention as people wowed at the size of these fish they were catching!

I’m pretty sure they were only fishing for sport, or just to show people what’s in the water.  I didn’t ask them because they were very busy at the time with what seemed like a feeding frenzy around their hooks.

Hamilton Pool

A day trip to Hamilton Pool from Austin is a must at least a couple times a year.  Be sure to check out the park’s website, as closures can happen under some circumstances.
Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve


Hamilton Pool is approximately 30 miles southwest of Austin. Take Highway 71 west of Austin through the town of Bee Cave and turn left onto FM 3238 (Hamilton Pool Road). Travel 13 miles to the Preserve entrance, on your right.

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A sunny Autumn day at Hamilton Pool, in Travis County Texas.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Just a quick, forty minute trip into the hill country southwest of Austin, is home to one of the areas truly hidden gems.  Pedernales Falls State Park is far enough from town that it doesn’t get much attention from city hipsters or tourists.  But as you spend more time in Austin and the surrounding areas, you eventually either make the trip out here on your own or somebody will be your guide.


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Timeless and beautiful Pedernales Falls.


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A large cave at Pedernales Falls State Park.

Check out the Free Wallpaper section of this site for some pre-sized images that make great desktops!

Mount Bonnell; A Short Hike To A Big View

If you couldn’t drive nearly all the way to the top, and had to hike it from the Colorado River, do you think it would be so popular to check out the top of Mount Bonnell?  Probably so!  Chances are, the old Tarankawa Tribe did the hike for same reasons as us.  Just to check out the view and get a dose of big sky.  And also probably just like us, on a lazy Saturday morning.  But of course we have the option to drive nearly all the way to the top.


click to see more photos of Katya at Mount Bonnell.
Katya poses along a popular part of Mount Bonnell.


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Another great posing spot at Mount Bonnell.


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Sitting on the metal cable-barrier along the cliff at Mount Bonnell.


Kayaking in Port Isabel

Words and Photos by Chuck Turkington

A late afternoon kayak tour in the “fingers” of Port Isabel, Texas.


kayaking in port isabel texas
Katya paddling near Hwy 100 bridge in Port Isabel.

Just a quick spin through town.  We set out around 6 o’clock, from North Shore in Port Isabel.  Made the turn at the McAffee Mansion and took the channel into town.  The tide was moving out, so it was a breeze to go against the SE wind.  Our main goal was to hopefully spot some dolphins, but also to see the small town of Port Isabel from the inside out, so to speak.

Most of the view in the fingers is of people’s backyards…their garages.  It’s the equivalent of cruising an alley-way, except that these garages are housing boats right on the water!  There are also a couple of public boat ramps and the shrimp basin is connected at the end of the line.  It’s an interesting view of the area.  You’ll spot plenty of life along the tidal edges, like birds flying and floating or red crabs hiding in oyster beds.  You’ll also see the industry and recreation side of the people, all from a duck’s-eye-view just above the surface of the water.

Barton Springs Pool

0806I-009Now first off, be careful because”this area is a federally protected natural habitat”! That’s what the lifeguard barked out. No, he didn’t direct that info to me, but might as well have been.  We’ve always known the cold-water springs to be the home of a rare salamander, but I thought that was just along the west wall, which is roped off for the salamanders.  I didn’t think it applied to the whole pool and included picking up rocks while diving around.  And yeah, there’s some cool stuff down there! Continue reading Barton Springs Pool