Where two deserts meet. 

We visited Joshua Tree National Park yesterday, drove the entire length of the park, from south to north, and stopped to explore all of the varied terrain and plants.   The park is ruggedly beautiful, and marks the intersection of the Colorado Desert and the Mohave Desert.  


We had a blast.  And took a bazillion selfies.   I’ll share some photos, but also wanted to share this cool interview I found this morning…. it’s 10 minutes long… of Steve Averill, the guy that designed and photographed the album art for U2’s album The Joshua Tree, which is celebrating its 30th birthday this year.  I think this guy has my dream job.  🙂

A fine example of the namesake of the park, said to look like Dr Seuss trees:


Amazing rock horizons:


Skull Rock, spooky!


Another peek from beneath the rocks:


I love exploring new places, and I love hanging with my girlfriends.   A perfect day.  

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Eclipse day 2017. 

We’ve wandered a bit and saw some interesting things today.

We hung out at a park in Cross Plains, Tennessee with a couple hundred other people on the line of totality for the solar eclipse…

Some enterprising kids recognized it as a business opportunity…

Of course, we bought some.

And I took some pictures of the amazing display in the sky above…

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It was an incredibly amazing experience.   I’m looking forward to the next one in Austin on April 8, 2024!

Meat-o-rama. 

My sister and her family are visiting us for a week.   We are having more fun than six people should.  We tubed the San Marcos River today, and hit the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood for dinner on the way home. Delicious.  


Photo credit to Fran.  🙂

Sweaty betties.

I went birding and hiking today with my friend, Doray.  We started early, at Reimer’s Ranch Park, and then did the guided tour of the canyon and grotto at Westcave Preserve.  After that, we went back to Reimer’s to hike their River Trail.

Let me just say, “Whoo dogie, it was HOT!”   Whew!  100 degrees or so.  But it was beautiful, we did see lots of birdies, and we enjoyed a lovely day in our hill country.  Pretty good day.

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Jacob’s Well. 

I joined Doray for a trip to the Wimberly area.  We stopped by their new home site to check out progress.  Then we visited Jacob’s Well Natural Area.   Jacob’s Well is a narrow (10-20′ in diameter), but deep (up to 100′) hole in the limestone of the springfed Trinity Aquifer.  Young and old jump from the rocks into the waters of the well to cool off.   We were only hiking but I enjoyed watching the divers.  


Watch your step!   That first one can be a doozy.  

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Sunday brewery touring, resumed.  

We took a break there for a while from our taproom exploration.  But we’re back.  First stop, 4th Tap Brewery Cooperative;  have a nice flight!


Next:  Oskar Blues Brewery; good tunes, too.  I learned a new word here:  zymurgy.  See, it’s an educational tour. 

We stopped for dinner along the way, but finished at Austin Beerworks:


We are in training for Fran’s visit…. 🙂

Artcycles.

Today Monte and I took a trip downtown to see the recently installed visiting art exhibit Forever Bicycles, by Ai Weiwei.   It is sponsored by The Contemporary Austin and the Waller Creek Conservancy.   Their material doesn’t cite an end date for the exhibit – it just says “ongoing.”  But get yourself down there to see it.   It is located at the “Waller Creek Delta,” which happens to be about where Trinity St runs into Lady Bird Lake.  The Waller Creek Boathouse and its cafe are nearby, so you can catch a bite as well.  And it is located right along the hike and bike trail.

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I found the exhibit of hundreds of stainless steel bicycles to be teeming with motion, from every angle.  Very cool indeed.

An overdue visit.

I made it to Laguna Gloria today.  It’s remarkable that it is only my first visit, after living here over 20 years.   It is the home of The Contemporary Austin, an art consortium.    The grounds are beautiful, full of trees, and trails that will take you down by the (glorious) lagoon, as well as Lake Austin.  A sculpture garden is spread throughout the grounds and trails.  It made for a lovely afternoon of hiking, birding and art appreciation.

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Texas Historical Marker for Laguna Gloria Villa

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The lovely Villa

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Looking towards Lake Austin from the Villa

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Miffy Fountain – Tom Sachs

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Looking Up – Tom Friedman

 

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Canopy Tower – John Grade

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Iron Tree Trunk – Ai Weiwei

Turnback!

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and you know what that means!   Yep, the annual Turnback Canyon Regatta; a two day sailboat race up the river from the Austin Yacht Club to Lago Vista and back.  We didn’t race, but our friends Kurt, Kevin and Gordon did, so we cruised up and anchored overnight with them.   There is a festival on-shore with live music and food, and it’s just a fun weekend overall.  Marty & Sue and Lori & Mike joined us, which made it all the more fun.   Memorial Day weekend is when we all say it is time to get in the water.  Lake temps were about 74 degrees, so we all jumped in.   It only gets warmer from here on out.   Good times await.

It was a tad humid and hazy, but any day on the water is a good day.

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The view anchored off of Bar K Park for the night.   We tried to count all the masts, but never we ended up with the same number twice.   Consensus was anywhere from 40-45 sailboats.

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From the Sunday sail home.   I count 32-ish sails in this one shot.

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Happy trails.  

I went to Pedernales Falls State Park today to hike with a couple friends.  They had never been, so it was fun to show them the different sights and trails.  

We walked a bunch.  After six hours or so, my Fitbit had logged almost nine miles.  Whew!

Hold still!

Scissor-tailed flycatcher, in motion.  They say the male’s tail is longer than the female’s, so I’m guessing this is a she.

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Taken at Commons Ford park.

Colorful.

I was excited to see my first ever painted bunting this spring, and several others since then; all on different visits to Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park.   I haven’t captured a NatGeo-esque photo of one yet, but I was happy to get this one today, showing its beautiful colors on display.  If you would like to see your first one, too, check out the park.

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Saturday.

We packed a picnic basket and visited Becker Vineyard’s annual lavender festival.   The lavender fields bloomed early this year so there wasn’t much purple to photograph today.  But a good time was had by all.  

Tread carefully.

I spent Friday night and Saturday with friends that are participating in this weekend’s MS-150 bicycle ride from Houston to Austin.  After taking their luggage to the drop-off point at Tully Stadium at dawn, I spent the rest of Saturday exploring and birding in several parks outside of Houston with Doray.

While our friends were pedalling their hearts out on the 100-mile Day 1 of the two-day MS-150, we had a very fun day.  We visited Cullinan Park, Fiorenza Park and Bear Creek Pioneers Park.   I’m still going through my photos to figure out exactly what we spotted.

While walking on one of the trails at Cullinan Park, I nearly stepped on this snake.  I didn’t see him because I was looking up into the tree tops as I was walking, trying to spot birds.  I’m very thankful for good luck, my guardian angel, and cat-like reflexes 🙂 , because I have since learned that this is a venomous juvenile cottonmouth snake. 😮

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My day could have turned out very differently if I hadn’t been lucky.

Be careful out there, folks.