Old Tunnel State Park | May 2021

We spent a recent Friday evening at Old Tunnel State Park. The park is the smallest park in the state, at only 16 acres, and is located outside of Fredericksburg. It has a really cool mixture of history and nature - the tunnel is an old railroad tunnel, part of a track that went from Fredericksburg to San Antonio. The track was built when Fredericksburg lost the competition for the hub for the larger railway system that was being built through the Hill Country (Kerrville got it instead - rumor has it that the Kerrville folks got the Fredericksburg folks drunk the night before they were arguing their cases and they ultimately bombed it). The train transported livestock and passengers and apparently wasn't run very well, as the company went bankrupt twice. When World War II hit, the railroad was shut down and the metal was all salvaged for use. Once the trains were gone, the bats moved in. The state acquired the property in 1990 as a Wildlife Management Area and in 2012 it became a state park!

If you're planning on visiting Old Tunnel, here are a few tips to have the best experience you can!

Wait 'til August

The tunnel is just under 1,000 feet long and is home to about 3 million Mexican Free-tailed bats from the summer months into the early fall. Even though the emergences start in may, don't make the mistake that we did and WAIT! It's better to go in August/September for a couple of reasons. One - May is generally wetter than the later summer months. When there has been a good amount of rain, there are more bugs and the bats don't have to travel as far to eat so they emerge later. They emerged at about 8:50PM when we were there and it was damn hard to see them. Second - right now the mother bats have not had their pups. That happens in June-ish and it takes 6-8 weeks for the pups to be able to fly. Once they are able to, the number of bats emerging increases significantly, up to that high end of 3 million. We had about 1 million at the time of our visit (which is still a lot, but less than half of the peak!).

Book the Lower Viewing Area

There are two ways to see the emergence - the Upper and Lower viewing areas. I recommend the lower area if you're able to coordinate that (you do need reservations for both - tickets can't be purchased on site). You're closer to the bats as they emerge and can see them better (especially if they emerge when it's really starting to get dark). You can even smell them!

If you reserve the lower viewing area, you'll also have access to the trails prior to the bat program. Lily and I got there about an hour and a half before the educational program was slated to start and we walked the short trail. It takes you down in front of the tunnel and then through the forested canyon area. It's nice, shaded, and it's actually a pretty good trail considering the park is so small and only has a staff of one (their volunteers are AMAAAZING and do a lot of maintenance and upkeep).

Be Patient

As with all things in nature, it can't be scheduled. You generally will have a good idea of about when the bats will emerge based on the times from previous days, but don't be surprised if they make you wait longer or if they come out early. They've come out when it's still broad daylight, when it's pitch black, in smaller groups, and in one big mass. Make your plans around the estimated time that is posted on the park's Facebook, but be prepared to possibly be twiddling your thumbs for a while. The educational program is great for passing the time and you can ask all of your burning bat questions while you wait.

Come Hungry

If you're able to, I highly recommend grabbing dinner at Alamo Springs Cafe beforehand! They've got some of the best burgers in Texas. Unfortunately, they have limited hours right now due to lack of staff, but typically they are open through the evenings and are located right down the road from the park!

 

Old Tunnel | May 2021

Have you seen any of the bat emergences in Texas before? Which is your favorite?


Mother Neff State Park | May 2021

At the beginning of the month, Ben and Rebekah were visiting from California. They spent a night with me in Stonewall and then I drove them up to Gatesville to see her parents the following day. In addition to getting loaded up with tons of plants from her mom, it also gave us an opportunity to spend the afternoon at Mother Neff State Park - the park that inspired the Texas State Parks system!

Mother Neff is named after Isabella Neff, a Virginian who relocated to Texas in 1852. Her youngest child, Pat Neff, was the governor of Texas from 1921 - 1925. When Isabella Neff died, she left six acres of land to the state. It was turned into a local park and officially opened as a state park in 1937. One of many Civilian Conservation Corps parks in Texas, this small park has a lot of history. That history doesn't start with Isabella Neff, though. For thousands of years, this area has been inhabited by Native Americans. It's no surprise that settlers displaced them - that's the foundation of our country, really...

These days, the park is 400 acres. One thing that I liked about the park was that it actually seems better to walk it than drive it. Trails connect pretty much all the open areas and, in my opinion, are superior to the road, which narrows and dead ends at a gate at the south end of the park. This gate blocks off the area of the park that is closed due to flood damage from 2015.

The size of the park makes it really easy to hit some of the most prominent features in the park in just a short 1.5 mile loop! Here's how:

TOWER TRAIL - 0.6 miles

When you enter the park, head to the camping loop and park right by the bathrooms. Pick up the Tower Trail and walk to the CCC Rock Tower, arguably the most iconic structure at the park. Go ahead, walk up it and enjoy the view!

When you're ready to move on, keep following the trail until you come to an old CCC stone picnic table. One of the things the CCC did was try to design structures in a way that allows them to blend in with the environment. This is a common theme among CCC parks - it's known as landscape architecture or organic architecture, a term coined by world-renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. This picnic table kind of looks like it's growing out of the ground.

CAVE TRAIL - 0.2 miles

Take a short detour from the picnic table to head to the Tonkawa Cave. It's not a "cave" per se, more-so a rock shelter. It's really neat to sit underneath it and think about all those that have come before and sat in it's shade, as well. This is a great place to sit and enjoy a snack, some water, and the quiet. When you're ready, head back the way you came.

WASH POND TRAIL - 0.5 miles

When you get back to the picnic table, briefly hop back onto the Tower Trail and then veer to the left to join the Wash Pond Trail. When the trail splits, take the left route to head to the Wash Pond. The pond has CCC history, as well as they expanded a natural dam to make the pond bigger. Back then, it was used for laundry and swimming, but nowadays I don't think I'd want to do either in it. It was really pretty when we were there, though, with the blue skies and trees reflecting off the surface of the pond!

Backtrack a smidge to get back on the main Wash Pond Trail and keep following that until it intersects back with the Tower Trail. From there, it's less than a tenth of mile back to the road!

 

If you've got limited time to visit this park, you can't go wrong with this itinerary! The hiking is easy, the trails are shady, the scenery is beautiful, and the history is abundant!

Mother Neff | May 2021


Pedernales Falls State Park | April 2021

Since we don't have another camping trip scheduled for about two months, we are getting our outdoor fill by day trips and hikes instead. This past Friday after school, we packed up our gear and headed to Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City. We had our sights set on the best overlook in the park and hoped to catch it at the end of the day when the sun was low in the sky.

The trail starts on Trammell's Crossing, which - as the name suggests - crosses the Pedernales River. From the river, stick to the northern portion of the 5.5 Mile Loop trail. In just under 2 miles, you'll be rewarded with some beautiful views of the Texas Hill Country and the Pedernales River.

The trail is listed as moderate. You definitely want good shoes that can get wet (or be prepared to take them off to cross the river). I wore my Chacos and they were just fine for me. Immediately after the river crossing, there's a bit of a climb to get up, but once you've hit the top it's pretty flat the rest of the way. Coming back is easy because it's downhill, except the very end getting back to the parking area.

This was our first hike of the year where it was above 90 degrees. I regretted not bringing my hat - I would have dipped it in the river and plopped it on my head before heading up the trail. That is definitely one of my favorite forms of trail air conditioning. Getting your feet wet in the river post-hike is really satisfying, too! Take some time to wade around and cool off.

 I highly recommend this hike. The distance is doable if you're short on time and the views are well worth the effort on those steep areas!

Pedernales Falls | April 2021


Colorado Bend State Park | April 2021

After stalking the reservation system for a couple of days, I was able to snag a campsite for one night of Easter weekend in Colorado Bend State Park. It was the only campsite that was available so I wasn't expecting much, but hey - a campsite is really just a place to eat and sleep.

As it turns out, we had the best campsite in park (not just my opinion - my pal Debbie that works at the park told me when we checked in!). Site 25 - book it for a couple of days and thank me later. The site was pretty secluded - you're down a bank from the road and the drive-in campsites. On one end is a small trail to the river (only one person came through while we were in the site) and the next site over was a good distance away. The river is a really short walk so it's easy to go back and forth without any hassle. The only downside of the site is that hauling our gear up and down the bank was kind of a pain in the ass, but I would do it again (and I plan to soon). It was probably just sucky for me because I'm out of shape, though, so take that with a grain of salt!

Since we were only camping for one night, we obviously had a lot to pack in. Here's what we did during our 24 hours at Colorado Bend!

Skipped rocks in the Colorado River

It sounds simple and boring, but damn, we really enjoyed this. After setting up camp, we brought our camp chairs down to the river and placed them right on the bank with the legs in the water. We had soaked our feet in the cold water and hunted for flat rocks that we sent flying across the surface (and also straight in - we're not very good at skipping rocks). We watched black vultures soaring around above us and the fishermen dotting the river. Sometimes the simple things are the best things.

Hiked the Spicewood Springs trail

Before dinner, we wanted to hike to see Spicewood Springs. The trail starts in the Spicewood Day Use Area and is 1.3 miles long. That's a little misleading, though, because the trail is one way and can be connected with the Spicewood Canyon trail to make a loop. The area where people swim in the springs is right at the beginning so if you just want to swim, the walk is easy and short. We stupidly didn't bring bathing suits because I was convinced that the water would be too cold to swim it. It was cold (as was the river), but it was totally swimmable.

If you hike this trail, be aware that there are numerous creek crossings. The first one we came across, I fell on my ass in front of numerous people and got my pants soaking wet. For the rest of the hike, I looked like I had pissed myself. Oh well! Wear good shoes, though, because some crossings are deeper/more slippery than others and you can/will get wet. I had my Chacos on which were perfect for walking through the water, but not great for the rock scrambling. They did fine, though.

We hit the overlooks as the sun was lowering in the sky and the views looking down at the springs were really phenomenal.

Hiked to Gorman Falls

After a good night's sleep, we woke up around 7AM and got moving for the day. We put our hiking clothes on, packed up our backpack, and by 8AM we were hitting the Gorman Falls trail to see the iconic 70 foot waterfall. The trail is 1.5 miles one way and I'd classify it as fairly easy until the very end. There are cables strung between posts that you hang on to as you slide your way down slick rocks on a steep slope to get to the falls. Equally fun going up (no, that's not sarcasm, it really was fun!).

Gorman Falls looks like a cave on the outside of the Earth. The process that formed it is the same one that forms caves, so the comparison is appropriate. The water comes from an underground spring and through time has created the travertine formations that the site is known for. The area is home to Guadalupe bass and is a very sensitive and fragile environment. Please don't be a jerk and cross the barriers. Also, don't fucking leave your trash everywhere. Lily and I picked up a lot of trash from the area. It's not hard to bring a trash bag, y'all. Don't suck!

We were the first ones to the fall that day and didn't see another soul on the trail until the very end when we were almost back to the car.

 

So that's pretty much it. I know it doesn't sound like a whole lot of hiking, but damn my legs are sore. It was about six miles total. Both hikes were labeled as challenging and contained areas of scrambling/climbing up rocks. I worked muscles I haven't used too often lately. It was definitely a good enough amount for us considering we had very little time in the park. In the morning after the hike, we asked if there was availability for a second night and got an answer we didn't want but did expect - a big ol' NOPE. We begrudgingly packed up camp and headed out. We are definitely going to be back sooner rather than later! And next time, we WILL bring our bathing suits.

 

Colorado Bend | April 2021


Cascade Caverns + Old Tunnel State Park | July 2017

July has been a stupendous month. Lots of outdoor-ing. We've visited Blanco State Park multiple times to swim, including for my birthday weekend. I sure do like that park. Angela came up for my birthday, along with my family. We grilled, karaoked, and went spelunking. Well, not really, but whatever. The day after my birthday, we decided to day trip to Boerne to check out Cascade Caverns. Lily had never been to a cave before, and with 100+ degree weather outside, the prospect of a 60 degree temperature in the cave sounded just right.

The drive wasn't too bad & we listened to MBMBaM (My Brother, My Brother, and Me for those of you that don't know - check them out, it's a hilarious podcast). We got to the cave just in time to catch the 2PM tour. Lily was hesitant at first as we entered, but she ended up really enjoying herself (minus when they turned the lights off). She saw bats hanging from the ceiling and got cave kisses and saw a waterfall. She even walked the majority of the way without falling on her ass. Ben can't say the same, as he slipped within the first five minutes. We had lunch in Boerne after the tour and headed back home.

IMG_2558

IMG_2559

Last night, we decided to head to Old Tunnel State Park to finally check out the bat emergence. Old Tunnel is just what its name indicates - an old, abandon railroad tunnel. It is home to about 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats that emerge nightly from May to October. We arrived at about 6:30PM, not worried about getting in to the Lower Viewing area (which sells out quickly) because kiddos ages 3 and under aren't allowed there anyways (BUT NEXT YEAR IT'S ON). By the time we got there, the Lower Viewing area was indeed sold out and we found a nice seat in the Upper Viewing area bleachers. It was hot and Lily got a bit antsy, but one of the volunteers chatted with us for a while about bats and answered questions while we awaited the emergence to begin. Finally, at 7:25PM, the bats started to come out and holy hell, it was SO COOL. It was 20 minutes of bats spiraling out of the tunnel, creating dark clouds in the sky from where we were and beyond.

IMG_2658
20476622_10211962529151816_7421259101475863472_n
20429759_10211962529591827_5781451017057265037_n

Up next on our state parks list: Inks LakeLonghorn Cavern.


Lockhart State Park | January 2016

I know, I know.... one of these days I will make posting more frequently a priority. But until then, deal with the once-every-two-month posts!

The first week of February was the State Parks Conference. I'll write a whole post about that later. It was held in San Marcos this year, which was convenient and close-by to my parents! We headed up to San Antonio the weekend before so we could spend some time at home and see some folks. Kim & I had a lovely reunion and overdue hiking adventure. We decided to try out Lockhart State Park this time. It was close by (only a little over an hour away from San Antonio), had some good hiking according the map we scoped out online, and.... barbecue. Lockhart is famous for the barbecue (in fact, it is the official Barbecue Capital of Texas!) and we like to eat barbecue so it seemed like a match made in heaven!

We hit the road early in the morning and made the easy drive. We listened to music that brought us back to many years ago and we sang along with the windows down and enjoyed the cool air. We made good time and pulled into the park before we knew it. We got a map and, since their trail system is largely made up of lots of shorter trails, we settled on a few different trails to combine to get us to hit just under three miles (and, of course, taking us up to the overlook).

3

Lockhart State Park is one of many CCC parks in the system. It also is unique because it has a golf course and a swimming pool! Pretty neat, but I sure as shit would not want to manage a park with those things! The amount of mowing that probably happens makes my head want to explode. It really is a beautiful, small park. Everything was very green and the campsites that ran along the creek looked very nice and peaceful.

12669661_10205460704987565_2949475332910759176_n

12651329_10205460704467552_6083198762433739036_n

7

We hiked along the various trails and made our way up to the overlook, where the CCC pavilion is. It was closed for renovations but it was a neat little building and there were some pretty views from the top. It wasn't epic...but still pretty!

12631285_10205460703347524_7145995094611272503_n

12417637_10205460703107518_8504835844834294461_n

6

The weather was perfect and the ground was covered in crispy, fallen leaves. The sun was shining and we soaked it up, along with the fresh air. Lily just hung out, going along for the ride. We would pick up sticks and rocks for her to carry around. Eventually, of course, she began attacking me with the sticks. Go figure. But it was a small price to pay for her enjoyment of nature.

5

2

1

After the hike, we headed to the most important part of this day trip: lunch. There are many barbecue options in Lockhart, but we decided to try Black's BBQ. It was good. Not great. Good, though. We all split some brisket and drank unsweetened tea (not Lily, though - the last thing that kid needs is caffeine).

4

Lily napped as we drove back home and bid farewell to Kim until our next adventure.


Goliad State Park | March 2015

We had a terrific day yesterday. We drove up to Goliad State Park to watch the war reenactments that they do up there. The festivities took place on the grounds of the Presidio La Bahia.

IMAG1768

IMAG1767

Okay, so Texas history is actually really cool. The reenactments were focused on Fannin & his troops over in Goliad. There were a couple of skirmishes, which led up to the Battle of Coleto Creek. Fannin and his men were actually in the process of retreating from Goliad, but ran into a few problems that caused them to be delayed. The Mexican army, led by General Urrea, was approaching fast. The Texians hunkered down, forming a square, and prepared to fight off the Mexican army. They were quite successful, however Fannin had poorly planned and they were running out of water and supplies and ended up surrendering.

IMAG1816

IMAG1800_1   IMAG1797_BURST002_1

The Texians surrendered with a few conditions - primarily being that they would be spared and that their injured would be cared for. Unfortunately for them, Santa Anna had just issued a command that all Texians bearing arms be considered pirates and executed. So, on Palm Sunday in 1836, the men were marched a mile out from the Presidio and executed. It's crazy because, even being from Texas, I didn't know much about Goliad or what happened there, but twice as many men died in the Goliad Massacre than at the Alamo and San Jacinto combined.

In between the battle reenactments, we wandered through the presidio and ventured down the road to the state park and visited Mission Espiritu Santo.

IMAG1811

IMAG1803

IMAG1804

The mission was established by the Spaniards and was used primarily to convert the natives to Catholicism and their idea of community. Many natives opted for this way of life as a means of survival and gave up their nomadic ways. We got a tour of the grounds and learned a ton.

IMAG1810

Seeing the reenactments and being immersed in some of my state's history was really, really cool. Lily loved the cannons and gunfire and was cracking up at them. She loved the horses and running around. We even managed to get a few bluebonnet photos by the Zaragoza monument that sits on the property.

IMAG1788

IMAG1780

We headed back home, mildly sunburned and exhausted, and went to bed embarrassingly early. It was fantastic.


Mustang Island State Park + Pedernales Falls State Park | February 2015

I just returned from my first overnight trip away from Lily. I had to go to McKinney Falls State Park in Austin for a two day meeting. It wasn't too bad! She apparently did great and I was able to let my hair down a bit. Okay, a lot. Probably too much. It was a fantastic meeting, though. It's always great to meet other staff from around the state. We played Cards Against Humanity, which I am convinced is the best way to really get to know someone. We drank beer, played the horribly offensive card game, and stayed up far too late. YOLO. I'm just fucking with you, by the way. I hope that you know me well enough to know that I would never seriously use the phrase 'YOLO'.

Anyways, I digress. I just wanted to give a brief summary of recent happenings. My dear friend, Crystal, who I went to college with came for a visit a couple of weeks ago. It was so, so good to see her and it was as if no time had passed, even though it had been five years since we last saw each other. We caught up on life and enjoyed ourselves for a few days. They had never seen the Gulf of Mexico, so naturally, I took them to Mustang Island State Park - my home base.

This was Lily's first 'real' time to the beach. Y'know, because before she couldn't even sit up on her own or do any cool shit. Now, she tore the beach up. She absolutely loved it. Which, I must admit, was mildly surprising because she is terrified of the sand box my parents bought her. Maybe she just knows the real shit when she sees it.

IMAG1259

IMAG1282    IMAG1289 (1)

IMG_0063

A grand ol' time was had by all. It was sad to say goodbye to Crystal, but we'll see each other again soon enough.

Now, let's jump forward a few weeks. I knew that I was going to be coming to Austin for my work trip, so I did what I normally do and popped up to San Antonio for my weekend that preceded the meeting. Kim's birthday is coming up and since I can't make it to her celebration, I wanted to do something else for her. What better gift than the gift of the outdoors?! RIGHT?! Really, though, nothing is more perfect for us. So we ventured out to Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City. We almost bailed on this trip because of the weather, but I had faith that it would hold out for us & it did. It was cold still, but the rain stayed away.

Initially, we planned on hiking the Wolf Mountain trail, which is about seven miles round trip. But, between the weather and our feelings of being semi-crunched for time, we opted for a shorter trail instead. We picked the Trammell's Crossing trail, which led to about a 5.5 mile loop (of which we only did about four miles).

Let me start by saying... I don't recommend this on a cold day. Why, you ask? Because apparently we didn't get the meaning of the word 'crossing' until we were faced with just that - crossing the damn river. It took us about 20 minutes to decide a) if we even wanted to attempt it and b) where/how we would attempt it. Finally, it ended with us taking off our shoes and gritting our teeth in the chilly water to get to the other side. I did it with Lily on my back, too. Duh.

20150222_103812

"How in the ever-loving fuck are we going to do this?"

20150222_115713   20150222_120058

"Why in the ever-loving fuck did we decide to do this? BRR."

Once we got across and got our shoes back on, though. The hike was nice and peaceful. The initial ascent got us both pretty winded, but we kept trucking on up (as we so often do). Once it flattened out up at the top, I let Lily out of the carrier and had her run around for a little while. She played and we swung her around and let her have her fun until we had to pop her back onto my back for the sake of time.

20150222_110406

  20150222_122844   IMAG1413

IMAG1423

IMAG1421    20150222_122902_2

After the hike, we had lunch at Pecan Street Brewing. It is a small, local brewery right in Johnson City. Kim & I both ordered bunless burgers with some sautéed veggies and we snacked on chips and salsa. I tried the County Jail Pale Ale and the Screw Loose Blonde - both were tasty! We feasted until our tummies could take no more.

It was starting to drizzle at this point so we loaded up into the car and decided to just do a quick drive through of LBJ State Historic Site & the Sauer Beckmann Living History Farm. I won't count either on my list of parks visited because we didn't even exit the vehicle, but I plan on getting back out there with Lily soon enough!

UGH. I am always amazed at how fucking long it takes me to write a post. I think, "okay, I'll just write something real quick before I go to bed" and sure enough, without fail, an hour later I'm confused as to how it took me so long to spew a bunch of words onto this thing.

 


Hill Country State Natural Area | January 2015

Wow, I have been seriously neglecting this thing. As usual, life has been busy. I've been working hard, playing hard, and having a great time with it all.

A few weeks ago I was visiting San Antonio for a work trip. I went through Cultural Resources Monitoring training and it was actually really great. It was the Region 3 class, but a few non R3-ers hopped in on it. I met a lot of really awesome people, learned a lot about history, and had a wonderful time.

While I was in town, we of course ventured to another state park. This time we decided to hit Hill Country State Natural Area. I had been there once before back in July 2013 with my pal, Shauna. But visiting in the heat of the Texas summer combined with being pregnant wasn't the best combination and we didn't get to do a hell of a lot of hiking. January was a much more pleasant time to visit and we actually had perfect weather the day we visited. I might even go so far as to say it was almost hot outside.

Kim joined us for the drive out to Bandera where we met Tara and Lucy. The park is pretty minimal in terms of development, but that is what I like about it. It's a big equestrian park so we saw lots of horse trailers and horses along the trail.

Hcsna10

We enjoyed the picnic area near headquarters for a bit before heading out on the trails. I can't remember which trail we did... maybe 5A? But it took us up a decent amount of elevation to get some really pretty views. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the hike.

Hcsna6

Hcsna1       Hcsna8

Hcsna3

Hcsna4

It was a great day trip with some of my favorite people.

Other than the work trip, I've just been truckin' along with work and with life. I'm fitting into pants that haven't fit since college. I'm running and feeling great. I ran a 10k last weekend with some of my mama friends and was ecstatic to find that I was able to shave SIX minutes off of the last time I ran that exact 10k in 2012. SIX MINUTES. That's epic. I was averaging under 10:00min/mile, which is a big deal for me.

1509932_10205636092812209_1363003329952841043_n

10944248_10205640743248467_1247085840_n

It was nice to do another race. So nice, in fact, that I signed up to do another one tomorrow. Two 10ks in an 8 day period. Yeaaaaah! I'll be pushing Lily in the stroller for tomorrow's race so I'm sure that'll slow me down a bit. Plus, I haven't run at all this week after the 10k. But whatever, I'm still running 6.2 miles so fuck it!

Other good/fun/productive things that have happened recently:

  • lots of guitar playing with friends
  • DATING (WHAT?!?!?! YES. THAT'S RIGHT)
  • paid off two of my four student loans
  • officially going to Massachusetts with Lily for my five year college reunion

Okay, I think that is a sufficient catch up for everyone. Hopefully it's not another 2 months before I get around to posting again. But if it is... deal with it.


McKinney Falls State Park | December 2014

My brother graduated with his Master's degree this past weekend. I took some time off of work to make sure Lily & I would be there to cheer him on as he walked the stage. We headed to San Antonio Friday so we could leave early on Saturday to make the day trip to Austin.

Since it was a fall ceremony, it was small, quick, and very entertaining and informal. It was much more enjoyable than any other graduation I've ever been to that takes fucking forever and is so damn serious. Lily was surprisingly well behaved during the ceremony, aside from making fart noises during a speech.

Grad

After the ceremony, Lily & I seized the opportunity to visit McKinney Falls State Park. It is conveniently located right in Austin and actually abutts TPWD headquarters. At one point, we were essentially in the backyard of headquarters during our hike. Onion Creek runs through the park and creates the falls. They are nothing spectacular or massive, but it is still beautiful.

Mfsp1

We hiked the Homestead Trail on this trip, which involved jumping over the falls on the rocks. It was... nerve wracking. We made it over fairly easily on the beginning of the hike, but on the way back the gap seemed to have widened magically. It took some coaxing and a helping hand, but after about 10 minutes of planning we finally made it back to the other side. Onlookers literally gave me a round of applause. It was slightly embarassing, but I was just glad to have made it without falling in!

Mfsp

We didn't get many pictures and it was a short visit to the park, but we enjoyed ourselves. Lily played at the playground for a bit before we headed back to San Antonio. 

On an unrelated note, I am doing a Whole 30. I am 10 days in as of today and it's fucking awesome. I recommend it to anyone and everyone, hands down. I'll divulge more details about the results when the 30 days is up. Here is one of my new favorite things: coconut milk & cinnamon coffee. It's fucking superb.

Coffee