Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Free Day for Mom and Daughter

Usually when Summer and I have the car we are running errands. Today we took Toby to work and dropped him off. I really didn't want to stick around downtown Austin walking around on the city streets. After we dropped him off we set out to a new destination.

My plan was to visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden which I still have not seen yet. When we got there they weren't open yet. Summer and I had about 15 minutes to kill until they opened so we drove a little ways down to the Nature and Science Center. I have been wanting to check out the trails there so I figured this was the best time. I didn't have anyone with me that would deter my "hike". Summer is my hiking sidekick. She never complains about tromping around in the woods.

I can't stress enough how nice it was to be able to visit the center without being rushed or adhering to anyone elses schedule. It was the first time Summer and I ever got to really "see" the place.

When we first got there we checked out the usual things like the rocks, animal bones and skin, fossils, etc. We actually got to make it educational with just the two of us.

Of course, after that Summer wanted to head out to the dino pit.....that's her favorite part. The temps were back in the 100's today but it was comfortable in the shade with the breeze blowing.

After dino pit we took off to the trails I was anxious to check out. I was a little nervous about traveling the trails alone being that there were no paper maps of the trail. The only map was posted on the board at the beginning of the trail. After studying the map at the trailhead I saw that the trail was very very long, as are most of the trails here. Fortunately there was a trail loop that looked simple enough to travel without getting lost or eaten alive by coyotes or other wilderness creatures.

Once we started walking I saw that there were alot of side trails off of the main trail that weren't shown on the trailhead map. You couldn't even really tell which trail was the main trail. Being the directionally challenged person that I am, this began to disorient me a little. I really had to pay attention to which way I was going and watch for landmarks. I threw another teachable moment in for Summer and taught her how to be observant of her surroundings when she is hiking.

While walking we came upon a creek, only the creek had no water. It's a reality check when you see something like a creek being dried up. At this point you can see the results of the drought. Record high temps and no rain do not make for nice flowing creeks. The upside to this is that it's pretty cool to see the things that were at the bottom of the creek. Without the water in it it's easier to find the "cool stuff" at the bottom.

Austin is so covered in beauty and originality there is no way I could ever capture it's beauty with a camera. Every time I take a picture I think "they won't see what I see with this picture". Nevertheless, I still try.

This is a creek. There is usually water in it.

If you click on this pic you can see the capitol and downtown from this view.

Trekking back down the path from the lookout.....much easier walk!

After sitting down and having a drink and snack in the empty creek we trekked on in a different direction. We saw a sign that read "Meadow Lake Trail Lookout". I never saw a lake, I'm sure it was dried up, but I spotted the steps that led WAY up to the lookout. The steps were pretty steep and a good ways up the hill. It was 100 degrees but the steps were in the shady woods so I figured I would test my strength. I knew Summer wouldn't have any problem with it. We had plenty of water with us.

We finally made it to the top and this is what we saw. I don't know what the weird looking columns were and there was no sign at the top that gave any info. It reminded me of some kind of fortress. Again, my picture won't capture well what I could see....the view of downtown Austin.

I could see that there were three more seperate trails that led away from the lookout. The adventurer in me wanted to trek furthur but my common sense told me it was probably not a good idea. Water was beginning to run low, it was extremely hot, and we took so many twists and turns to the top that I wasn't even sure I could remember how to get back to the Nature Center. I am having to save most of my hiking adventures for the cooler temps.

Well we did make it out of the trails. When we got back we went inside and cooled off. After I got nice and cool Summer decided that she wanted to go back out into the dino pit to play. Don't kids recognize when it's hot outside?????

She played in the pit and afterward we played in the stream and the pond a little while to get cooled off. I'm not sure if this pond was supposed to be used for swimming or not, but the kids were turning it into their own private pool. It was so hot outside that parents nor the employees stopped them. I sat in the shade and enjoyed watching Summer have a good time.

It turned out to be a perfect mom and daughter day.

1 comment:

  1. maybe next time you will get to the sculpture garden. I am glad your day turned out so well.