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  • turkscap

    Last week I was in Austin for a conference and on Wednesday evening I tried to capture what was left of the daylight at the end of the day for a little exploration around town. I had contemplated driving out to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge but didn’t think I had enough time to get out there and do anything useful so I opted to head downtown to Barton Springs and Zilker Park. It was smooth sailing south down the Mo-Pac expressway until it wasn’t and then I found myself ducking off the highway and heading down the still congested Lamar Street that leads towards the west side of downtown. Oh Austin, you planned your highways poorly.

    I arrived at the park with about 45 minutes of daylight left and with an open mind just to walk around to see what I could find. There were groups of people playing soccer on the large grass areas near Barton Springs Road and a few people walking the trails on either side of the creek. I’d always wanted to see the Barton Springs Pool and I’ll be honest, it wasn’t nearly as glamarous as the photos online and in magazines make it out to be.

    bartoncreek7
    The water along the creek was quite clear and very blue with the late evening sun producing some beautiful reflections.

    bartoncreek6
    I could have turned around and headed towards the Colorado River to the north, but instead I went the other direction thinking I’d have a lot of creek to explore. Instead I found myself running into the pool not too far down the trail.

    bartoncreek5

    bartoncreek4
    Kayakers and SUPers are all over this area and on the Colorado during the warm months. I didn’t see anyone on the river when I drove over it but I’m betting there were folks there earlier in the day since the temperatures haven’t dropped enough to keep most peope from being on the water.

    bartoncreek3

    bartoncreek2

    bartoncreek1
    And here’s the pool. There were a couple of people ankle deep in the water here on my side of the pool area but only a few lifeguards in the actual pool itself. There was evidence all around of the flooding a few weeks ago that swept through the Austin area, vegetation clumps and debris caught in fences and crevices of tree branches. Flash flooding in central Texas is a scary reality during a t-storm.

    elizaspring2
    I popped up top after I hit the fence at the pool down below and got a better look at the pool from above. It was there I found the much altered Eliza Spring, home to the rare Barton Springs salamanders.

    elizaspring
    As you can see it was once open to the public with access down to the spring but it has since been closed off to the public due to the sensitive nature of the habitat. More information on the spring and its history.

    My explorations were short and since I was close to Chuy’s that’s where I headed for dinner. I’d like to get back to Austin this winter and see a few other natural areas such as the Balcones Canyonlands NWR that I haven’t been to.

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    7 Comments

    1. Keely says:

      Nice pictures! It sounds like a peaceful exploration. Chuys – yum! I really want to go explore Balcones Canyonlands more so let me know when you decide to go!

    2. Elizabeth says:

      What a beautiful area! And I can never say no to Chuy’s.

    3. Shirley says:

      You captured some beautiful moments in the time you had. Your comment about the pool not being as glamorous as you expected made me smile. It was a lot of fun back when I was in high school and part of the draw was hitting that cold, cold water on a hot day but I don’t remember thinking of it as anything other than a swimming hole.

    4. Moosie says:

      Fun!

    5. Eileen says:

      Lovely scenes and images! Have a great weekend!

    6. Patrice says:

      We never got to the Barton Creek Greenbelt when we were in Austin and it seems we really didn’t miss out! Thanks for sharing!

    7. TexWisGirl says:

      i love the colorful branch sweeping down into the water. very nice!

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