I thought heading out to Hamilton Pool just West of Austin would be a good way to avoid the Black Friday crowds. Apparently I was not the only person with this bright idea. While the surprising swarm of international park visitors undercut my commune with nature, it was still a cool, beautiful walk through the flaming cypress trees down to the Pedernales River. Imagine the smell of cypress, a rich, woodsy perfume underfoot and wafting through the trees. It’s a hilly trail so bring water and be prepared for a good hike.
Contrary to popular belief, there is water in the hill country. Colleen and I had to go to Hunt, Texas to find it, but Autumn cypress foliage rivals northern forests for flaming reds, orange and shades of gold and rust. Taking a break from the routine, 11 brings an opportunity for balance, recalibration and strength. For fun, we went to Stonehenge II (now in Ingram, Texas) to stand among the stones and release the old, walking counterclockwise around the circle, then ushering in a new energetic cycle by strolling clockwise among the stones. The creeks and rivers offered peace – lush grasses and languid flowing waters the dry beds closer to town have lost in the drought. Ingram has a few shops, including the Copper Cactus, whose humorous mural is featured below. If you are looking for a good German meal in Fredericksburg, I recommend Friedhelm’s Bavarian Restaurant. Schnitzel, ja voll! All in all a lovely day touring the gently rolling hills and dales of Central Texas. May peace remain and pass on to the warriors who have gone before us this Veteran’s Day 2011.