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.

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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.

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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):

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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.

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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.

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

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Start/finish at Zilker.

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A view from the new Boardwalk.

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Congress Avenue bridge.

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Looking south towards the Zach Theater from the Pfluger bridge.

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A rower making way.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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!

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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:

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

100% chance of woo hoo!

I’m very thrilled to see the weather forecast for the next few days.  FINALLY some not-rainy days!

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I’m looking forward to spending some time outside!  This morning I got an early start… went for a long hike in the woods.   This shot shows the just risen sun peeking through the tree trunks at the horizon.

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And in the middle of my hike I came upon this tranquil view.  Very pretty.

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Maize maze.

After the Seahawks pulled out an ugly victory from the jaws of defeat, we headed out to a nearby farm’s corn maze. I’ve never seen one before. It was huge – a whole field of full grown corn with several miles of trails cut through, forming a maze. Big and small kids were walking in all directions inside, trying to make their way through, while finding all the checkpoints. Fun!
A view from inside:

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A view from outside:

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And the route we logged going through the maze, from my mapmyrun app: :)

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A view from the penumbra.

Crazy weather here. It rained and poured this morning. Then we had an hour or two of sunny blue sky, which afforded a glimpse of the partial solar eclipse through a hastily-made pinhole camera.

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Then the cloud bank rolled in again with rain. I’m glad mom had a chance to watch it, if only for a half hour or so.
Pretty cool.
The next solar eclipse will be on August 21, 2017. Mark your calendar!

A moment from a lovely walk.

Rain is in the forecast for the entire week here.  I timed my walk today for what I hoped to be a break in showers.  As it turned out, l made it back home after an hour or so with barely a drop on me.

I was listening to Pandora, and as I crested a hill on my way home I turned up the volume when I heard one of my faves through my earbuds – Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole’s cover of Somewhere over the Rainbow.  As I was listening, I turned my head and coincidentally saw a faint rainbow lit up during a brief sunbreak – making the song even a little more enjoyable than usual.   Nice.

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And now, for something completely different…

Last week I began a short break from the rat race, taking a couple months off from work.

Soooo….I went shopping on Monday; golfing on Tuesday; sailing on Wednesday; woke up at anchor Thursday morning; back to the lake Friday for two nights on the boat; rafted up with Kurt & Kevin on Dancer, and Marty & Sue (yay!!) on Caribbean Hug Saturday night; made it back home Sunday night to watch my Seahawks and make pizza; and then headed to Seattle for a visit this past Monday.

I’ll try to get my sheila365 groove back. :)

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