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.