I’d like to start off by noting how INCREDIBLY hard it was to avoid saying “Howdy” while we were in Austin this weekend. Trying to blend in just doesn’t work when you bleed maroon. Driving around with my Texas A&M and TAMU Geosciences sticker on the back of my car accompanied by our Texas A&M shirts, key chain, and wallets we decided we would let our pride for our beloved school shine through, because let’s face it, we are the best school in Texas. However, aside from Texas A&M we quickly decided College Station, Texas has nothing on the capital of our great state. And by “we” I mean Madison and myself. If you’re new to my blog, or my life this is me and Madison when we first packed up the car and headed for ATX.
Now I guess it’s time for me to officially come out and say it to my remaining friends who don’t already know(which I’m assuming if you’re taking the time to read this you care enough about me that I’ve already told you), but I know the question on everyone’s mind and the answer is, yes, Madison is in fact my girlfriend.
Aside from that, if it wasn’t already clear, this post is going to be all about our weekend well spent in Austin, Texas.
The first place we set out for was REI to get me a backpacking pack. Now, this wasn’t the reason we headed to Austin I was just told that whenever I got ready to drop $200+ on a bag I should make sure I buy it from someone who knows what they’re talking about and you can only find that in the city. Therefore, knowing all that we had planned for the weekend and the summer we went ahead and made REI our first stop. Which is where I finally got my pack which is pictured below. I would also like to give a shout out to the guy who helped me pick this particular pack out, Tim, he is the salesman in the backpack section at the REI on Lamar street in Austin and he was so helpful and absolutely amazing. Love this place and him.! He also gave us some really cool recommendations on where to hang out during our time in the city.
Once we were finished there I asked our cashier where the best place for vegetarian food was and she told us a place called Bouldin Creek Cafe and MAN was she right.! I find that the best way to find the best places is to ask the locals. So, needless to say, we went to the cafe and the place was as hip as could be. The second we walked in we felt right at home. I also usually like to talk the to waiter/waitresses recommendations on what to order so I got the fajitas. Unfortunately, my camera roll was getting full during our trip and so I went through and deleted a lot of pictures and one happened to be my meal. I will say though that if you are in Austin and looking for an awesome veggie place, this is it.!
There is also one more thing about downtown that I can never pass up and that’s Whole Foods. There’s not much to say about it other than I love looking at different foods and trying new things. I’m also a vegetarian and health food enthusiast so I seized the opportunity to pick up some snacks for the remainder of the weekend. The pictures don’t have a lot to do with what we bought but I thought I’d share them anyway.
Once we left Whole Foods we decided to go ahead and make our way to where we would be camping for the night. We were staying at Krause Springs for the night in a tent. I wanted to get there early enough to have time to go check out all of the nature that the park had to offer and boy did we get to see some amazing things. The first thing we noticed was the butterfly garden along with all the huge beautiful wind chimes. After we walked around the garden for a bit we went and set up our tent to reserve our spot and headed back down to the spring. This is where we found a beautiful waterfall, huge GORGEOUS trees, and even a birds nest completed with eggs. Please, have a look for yourself.
The above pictures took place when we were in the Butterfly Garden and the below pictures are after we set up camp and went down to the spring.
This a bird nest we found while hiking around the spring in a little hole off the mountain.
The spring was amazing and the time we got there was perfect for my photography in terms of the sun’s angle. Once the sun set we had an hour to run to Wal Mart and pick up a few things we had forgot and needed to set up camp. The gates closed at 9 and the closest Wal Mart was almost half an hour away so it was a mission but we made it back in time. That night we cooked on a mini $10 grill we bought and roasted some corn. We had no idea what we were doing so the first one came out a little burnt but between the garlic butter and the spices we bought it was wonderful. So that night we ended up getting into the tent around midnight while other people in the park were still up partying but I needed us to get up early in order to start the next day so we went to bed earlier than we were used to.
We woke up the next morning bright and early to head to Hamilton Pool. This is a place located outside of Austin and is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We spent some time by the pool, even though swimming was not allowed that day and then continued on down their hiking trails. Experience a piece of the beauty through my pictures as followed.
This is a panorama of the moss growing on the walls within the pool. BEAUTIFUL.!
Once we left Hamilton Pool we were determined to find somewhere to go swimming so we decided to head over to Barton Springs Pool. When we arrived at the pool we found that it was closed for construction and at this point we were more than disappointed, but also hungry. I have this desire when I’m in a new area to try food at places that aren’t chains and that are different. Being in the city of Austin there were a ton of vegetarian options so we decided to take advantage of another. Mother’s Cafe was on the menu for today and luckily I still have the picture of this one for you guys. I loved walking into all these veggie restaurants and not having to read each ingredient on the menu making sure it didn’t have meat in it. This one in particular was a Jamaican stir fry.
After we ate I wanted to make a stop at one more place that I only get to go to when I’m in a large city and that’s where I buy all my face, hair, and body products known as Lush. I loooove this store but I can only buy their stuff when I’m in downtown. This company makes all of their products from local organic products and also help raise funds for many important charities like the one I purchased as seen below. If you’re not fromiliar with them I highly reccomend you check them out. We just needed a break between eating and swimming so we made a stop.
Walking from Lush back to my car we found a rather large turtle in the creek we were passing.
After we left Lush we set out to find a less natural pool known as Eddy’s Pool, however, my GPS was being extremely difficult and wouldn’t route me around the horrid traffic that was on Austin’a main highway so we ended up making a stop at a random place we were passing known as Zilker Botanical Garden. Which was nothing short of gorgeous. We ended up getting in for free because the gate attendant was on his lunch break, LOL. We also attempted some Geocaching while we were here but they proved too hard for us beginners. Anyway, here are some of my picture from the garden.
When we left the garden and the traffic had died down we did make it to Eddy’s Pool, however, we didn’t take any pictures because it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was just somewhere to cool off that evening. We left Eddy’s pool and went for a walk by the river before realizing we needed to go check into where we would be staying for the night. We intended on staying at McKinney State Falls but soon realized that it was too late to check in there. So we went to park in downtown in a garage so that we could go try the top rated restaurant in the city known as La Condesa. Which I will say was AMAZING. But on the way we made a stop at one of the hipster stores where I just had to have a few things.!
La Condesa was very different than what we were used to, and luckily our waiter explained the menu to us. All of their dishes were meant to be shared and you were supposed to order something from each section of the menu. We ended up getting some fish tacos which were ahhh-mazing and then some tuna, that came out raw and we had to send back. And finally our last dish was a fish that still had the bone but was to die for. I totally understand how the restaurant is rated one of the best in Austin. I didn’t take pictures of our food though.
Realizing that it was already too late to check into any camp sites we decided to go ahead and walk around downtown Austin. We made our way to 6th street where the entire street was shut down for what seemed like a huge party. I wish I had saved the video, but if you have me on Snapchat you would have seen my story that included the man doing his spray paint art, with the drummer using plastic bucket, a lady painted like a concrete statue standing in the middle of the road, and some badass dude with a bike wrapped in lights. Downtown Austin was poppin, to say the least. We ended up going to a comedy show on 6th street that was pretty funny and a really cool experience. After we left the comedy show we headed back to our pent house suite in downtown with an amazing skyline view. AKA my Ford Explorer on top of a parking garage. Luckily I bought an air mattress for the tent which we pumped up after laying down all my seats in the car and placed in the back of my car. The temperature was perfect to crack the windows and fall right to sleep. Again, this was on my Snapchat story so all I really have for this is a couple pictures of the next morning. I will admit, I was slightly scared to be sleeping in my car, however, I figured it was a little safer than sleeping in my tent because I could lock the doors. There was not a single other car on the top level of the garage where we slept and the area was really nice, none the less, when I woke up the next morning I was really thankful we had made it through the night.
We woke up this morning so that I could walk over to Jo’s and try their coffee that I had been hearing so much about. Which we did and it was yummy yummy. We also shared an omelet that was over stuffed with onions for me, but Madison liked it just fine.
After Jo’s we went on a hike through the city to find a bracelet that I had in mind for days. I know it might sound dumb but I reeeaaally wanted a bracelet like the one pictured below and I looked up the best souvenir place in Austin for jewelry and we set off. I also found a really cool shirt at Parts & Labour which I ended up getting for free somehow. If you’re in Austin and you like jewelry, and specifically different jewelry, check this place out.! Beware, however, they will make you purchase your own bag so bring your reusables.! When they told me I would need to purchase my own bag they we reluctant to tell me in fear that I would be angry. But I was so pumped that I was in a place that encourages more sustainable practices that I practically thanked them for charging me for my own bag.
Here are just a couple cool/ weird things we saw on our walk.
When we checked that off our list we stopped by Austin Natural Living Festival but only stayed for a few minutes after we got our free swag bags. It was pretty cool but I felt like we were a little out of place so we set off in hopes that Barton Spring Pool would be open this time and it was.! This is a pool filled with natural spring water that also has some of it’s natural geological surroundings still in tact. I don’t have much else to say about it other than it was beautiful and freezing.! But here’s a picture, panorama.
After leaving the pool we went back to Whole Foods to get some food for a picnic on Mount Bonnell. This is the highest peak in Austin, and is absolutely beautiful at sunset.! We loaded up my backpacking pack with our food, water, and grill and set off. Once we got there we realized there were a ton of people and that we wanted a place that wasn’t so packed to cook and watch the sunset. So we climbed a little down the hill to a little ledge where we set up our grill. Admittedly, this was probably the most dangerous thing I have ever done. We were off the path climbing down a mountain onto a ledge that was no more than 3 feet wide to cook at sunset. But hey, I’m still alive and I’m so glad we did it. We cooked out fish tacos and watched as the sunset. Check out the AMAZING photos below. And pay attention to the captions, hopefully they will help you visualize the scene.
This was Madison and I on top of the Mount before we hiked down to our watch spot.
This is a random couple that looked too cute to not take a picture of.
This was right after we climbed down to the ledge. Perfect time for a selfie, right.?
If you can use your imagination with this shot you can see how we were set up. You can see the hill behind Madison’s back where we were sitting and then again on the right where I was sitting. However, you will notice it looks like there is no ledge in the middle and that’s because there really wasn’t. What you see in the middle are the trees that were on the slope directly below the ledge we were sitting on.
Also, here is a short clip.
And then here is the view from where I was sitting, my feet, then nothing.
Those are the best picture I got while on Mount Bonnell. From there we tried to hurry over to where we thought we were going to camp that night but of course, we were too late. So we decided to go downtown for ice cream and potentially spend the night in my car again. But after we had ice cream at Amy’s we decided the best decision would be to drive back to C-Stat. And so we did. I would say the end, however, on the way back we were able to see the moon and for some reason it appeared to be tremendously closer to earth. It was huge and beautiful. I tried to get a picture but of course I was driving, it was dark, and my windshield was dirty, so I’m not even going to put those pictures on here LOL.
So that was our adventure in Austin, Texas. I will be making edits as needed. Thanks and Gig ‘Em.