Chasing sunsets.

We popped into our local public house for dinner and some cards tonight.   On the way home we were treated to an awesome sunset… complete with rainbow and mammatus clouds (Monte looked it up).   We had to dash around a bit and didn’t get a good shot, but hopefully this gives you an inkling of how beautiful it was.

IMG_8161

Earth Day dawning. 

View from my room this morning. 

Happy Earth Day

This is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day.   I remember way back then as a wee lass, soon after the EPA was formed, hearing the word “ecology” for the first time.   I had a school folder with the ecology symbol on it (remember this?):

  
We’ve come a long way since then.  

Heavenly views.

Yesterday I returned home from several weeks in Seattle.   I had my nose glued to the window, as usual.  It is so easy to take for granted that we have the luxury of being able to view our planet from the vantage point of the angels.

A front was moving in from the east, bringing a late dump of snow in the Cascades.  This is a shot of it moving in over Southcenter, looking east.

IMG_7939

The cloud deck must have been about 15000 ft.  Mount Rainier was buried in clouds. Can you find it?  This shot is looking east, flying south.  If you look closely in the bottom left of the frame,  you can see another jet flying below us.IMG_7948

Then we turned east, flying below Mount Rainier.   Little Tahoma peak stuck its head out, right of the summit.IMG_7955The mighty Columbia River brings life to eastern Washington.  Irrigation circles dot the landscape near Paterson.IMG_7962Cotton ball clouds somewhere over Texas.IMG_7973

Back on the ground.  Glad to be home.

Embracing the No.

I’m gonna give it a whirl – saying “no,” I mean.  Not to everything.   Just to a few well chosen requests made of me.   See how it goes.   If I turn out to be really good at it, there may be no stopping me!  :)

No reason for this shot across Hood Canal as the sun heads for the horizon other than that it is calm and serene.   That’s what I’m going for.

IMG_7912

Sun sail.

We headed to the lake Saturday for a sail and to anchor out overnight with Camelot. It was a gorgeous day! Winds 10-15. High in the low 70s.

IMG_7763
After a lovely sail past Starnes Island and back, Camelot radioed that their engine would not start. Roh roh. Change of plans. We sailed back to the marina ahead of them. The winds were much lighter now and straight out of the cove, which made it possible for Camelot to sail slowly up to a side tie on the end of the far dock – where they could then just loose the sheets. We met them at the end of the dock to push them off and grab their dock lines. Exciting, but well planned and executed. Camelot will remain there to get worked on next week.
We ended up just spending the night in the slip. But a very lovely night it was.

A hill (and a thrill) with a view.

IMG_7681

One of many familiar images of Austin is of the Pennybacker Bridge at Loop 360, overlooking a stretch of beautiful Lake Austin.   The 360 Loop drive and its Hill Country views are one of my favorite parts of Austin.  I crossed off one of my must-do’s by hiking up the cliff overlooking the bridge to take in the view for myself.   In the panorama above, you can just see the downtown skyline peeking over the hill on the left of the image.   I’m not afraid of heights, but I have to say my heart skipped a beat or two as I stood on the rock on the edge of the cliff.

For reference (from google streetview):

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.42.57 PM

I think I like this shot better.  It’s taken from a vantage point slightly farther west, down the trail along the top of the cliff.

IMG_7688

Just another gorgeous day in my little corner of paradise.

Sunpocolypse.

I know that my friends in the Northeast have been hit by a snowstorm today.  But what a BEAUTIFUL day here in Austin!  The Butler hike and bike trail around Town Lake (oops, i mean Ladybird Lake) is always a nice destination, with loops of varying distances depending on which bridges you choose.  Last year the boardwalk on the southeast side of the lake was completed.  I set out today to walk the Mopac / I35 loop.  The Butler Hike and Bike Trail maps say that loop is 6.9 miles, but I must have dilly-dallied, because I logged a bit more.

IMG_7696

It was a simply lovely day.  I leave you with a few pics from my lap:

IMG_7670

Start/finish at Zilker.

IMG_7626

A view from the new Boardwalk.

IMG_7645

Congress Avenue bridge.

IMG_7651

Looking south towards the Zach Theater from the Pfluger bridge.

IMG_7654

A rower making way.

IMG_7664

A peek inside one of the boathouses on the north side of the lake.

I would love to be able to come down here every day.

Land lubbin’.

This weekend has been a glorious January one for the books.   Yesterday we kind of got rat-holed by what should have been a 30 minute project at the house, but it ended up consuming the day.

Today, however, i was determined to get outside.   The level of Lake Travis continues to remain woefully low at 624′ above mean sea level.   Happily, though, the rain from last week raised the level about 9 inches.   We just have another 684 inches to go before the lake is full!

One of the features of the land that surrounded the original river that the drought has uncovered is the piece of land referred to by locals as “Sometimes Islands.”  When the lake basin is flooded, the peaks of this piece of land sometimes stick up; sometimes they are covered by water.  Well, for the last 3 or 4 years, Sometimes Islands has become For-the-Foreseeable-Future Peninsula.

We set out today to walk the length of the peninsula.   So we packed a few snacks for lunch, brought our GPSes, and tossed my Christmas present from Monte – a metal detector – in the trunk for its maiden voyage.

We stopped briefly at the historic site for the original Anderson Mill – the mill that operated near Cypress Creek in the 1800s – a NW Austin neighborhood and road still bear its name.  They have a museum here as well, but it is only open for a few hours on the 4th Sunday of every month between March and October.   We’ll have to come back for the tour.

IMG_7571

Then we headed for Mansfield Dam Park and started our trek.

IMG_7582

This is the old highway that used to cross over the top of the dam.  It is closed to ordinary folks these days, and Highway 620 is the throroughfare now.  I’d love to get a chance to stroll across the old road now, though.

I walked the length of the peninsula – about 2.5 miles out from the park – and found all the geocaches that didn’t require scuba gear.  Monte marked a couple of points on his GPS that will hopefully be boating hazards and/or navigable cuts once again at some time in the future.  This was the view from the park looking out over Sometimes Islands…the structure on the top of the hill in the center of the picture is the Oasis.

IMG_7587We also tried out the metal detector for the first time.  And I have to say:  “Pretty nice!”   We were able to detect and reliably find nearly every piece of metal (aluminum, lead, iron, steel, …) that it sounded on, even if we had to dig 6″ or more to get to it.  I’m looking forward to bringing it along on some of our cove-explorations when the weather gets warmer.  No treasure this time.   But it was fun.

IMG_7603

I go back to work a week from tomorrow.  This weekend was a nice adventure.  I’m hoping to squeeze in few more next week.

Bull Creek flowing.

I took another trip to St Edwards Park the other day to explore some of the trails I didn’t get to on my last visit.   It was the MLK holiday, and a beautiful January Austin day – and everyone else had the same idea.  The parking lot was PACKED.

It’s nice to see a bit of water in the creek.  It is supposed to rain again tomorrow, thankfully.

IMG_7544

Looking upstream from a point along the red trail north of the park.

IMG_7547

Standing in the middle of the creek bed on dry rocks – not a good place to be after a rain!

IMG_7550

Winter creek-scape looking upstream, taken from the concrete wall/dam on the southside of the park.

IMG_7555

A view of concrete wall/dam taken from the south bank.

I’ll be back.

Ohmigosh, 2015 already!?!

I want to wish you a most happy New Year and all the best to you and yours in 2015!  I have been away a while.  Partly due to distractions.  But also partly due to the fact that I had run out of online storage space for my blog @ wordpress, and I wanted time to think about how and or whether to upgrade the options for my blog.

In the end I decided to simply buy a storage upgrade (to add an additional 10G to the default 3G limit).   When my domain options are up for renewal next year, I might consider upgrading to Premium on wordpress, which includes the increased storage, but I bought myself some time.

I think last we crossed paths out here in the blogosphere I was headed home from a long visit in Seattle, back to Austin.   Suffice to say I have not been idle.

The day after coming home, we left for a fantastic week in Paris – a trip we took with little pre-planning; celebrating a birthday in a place we both love.  And since then:  Thanksgiving, family visiting, Julie graduated and left Austin to take the next step in her life’s path (sniffle), Christmas & New Year’s, and we have spent some fun times with friends.

Somewhere in there 2014 slipped away.  Today I find myself on the second day of a new year — a few weeks delinquent in blog posts but looking forward instead of behind.

Here are just a few picks to fill in since last I posted:

Bon Anniversaire!

IMG_6994

Post-Thanksgiving Day sail:

IMG_7228 A day trip through the Hill Country and a hike to the top of Enchanted Rock on a clear December day with my sister & brother-in-law:IMG_7275

Christmas Eve:

IMG_7336And New Year’s Eve:IMG_7363

I can’t wait to see how 2015 unfolds….