Posts Tagged ‘Hiking’

Big Basin Redwoods

November 27, 2012

As a celebratory trip for my birthday last month, Mark and I went camping at Big Basin Redwoods State Park which is just north of Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay. We’d never been there before nor did we know anyone that had, we just researched state parks within a 2 hour driving radius, read reviews online, made our reservation and hoped for the best. The weather that weekend was absolutely perfect for camping; it was cool enough at night to merit sitting around a fire and warm enough during the day for hiking in shorts.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and set up our tent in a nice, secluded site surrounded by bushes and tall redwoods. There was moss growing on every stationary surface thanks to the cool shade provided by the many trees. Our site had a picnic table, fire ring and bear box for storing food {not actually for bears but rather racoons…no way was I going to camp where there are bears present}.

The forest of redwoods were absolutely incredible, some of them were over 300 feet tall and 70 feet in circumference. It’s hard to imagine something living that is so big until you are standing at the base of it, staring upward.

On Saturday we hiked a 5 mile trail through the park and we had such a great time! We packed lunch and ate on the trail, saw a waterfall, met a scary spider and only saw a handful of other people during the entire hike.

My favorite part about the trip was waking up in the morning and seeing the sun rays filtering beautifully through the trees…so breathtaking.



August 8, 2011

This past week Mark and I took part in a few local events and as such have officially dubbed ourselves true Austinites.

Wednesday we laid out on the grass at Zilker Park, eating Kerbey Lane chips and queso while listening to the Old 97’s play during Blues on the Green. We went with a few good friends and greatly enjoyed the fun, relaxing evening. The next night we went on a double date of sorts with one of my soccer friends and her husband to South Congress for 1st Thursday. After dinner at Guero’s we walked the streets of SoCo laughing at the street performers and checking out the many vendors that were set up selling their jewelry and wares. I bought a great photo print from a local photographer and we finished off the evening with a little dessert at Amy’s Ice Creams.

On Saturday morning Mark and I decided to go on a little hiking excursion and hit up Mount Bonnell and the 360 bridge area. The views of downtown from atop Mount Bonnell were great but the hike was less than exciting {if you could even call it a hike} but the rocky cliffs near the 360 bridge did not disappoint.

On our way up to the top of the lookout on the west side of 360 we stopped to watch a couple of rock climbers repel down the steep cliff on the east side. From above we had an amazing view of the bridge and Lake Austin and we hiked a trail that followed the cliff’s edge for a while before heading back down once the temperatures got too hot for comfort. Woo hoo for free Austin hiking adventures!

Camping: McKinney Falls

May 4, 2011

I love camping. There’s just something about removing myself from the day to day and being outside for hours on end that rejuvinates my spirit. I love breathing the fresh air, hiking in lieu of working out, seeing the stars at night, exploring trails and waking up with the sun. It’s no wonder that as soon as the temperatures become favorable I start planning a trip to a nearby park.

We camped for two days at McKinney Falls State Park and had a great time despite the burn ban which prevented us from partaking in the traditional campfire hot dogs and s’mores. Thankfully, my parents had a camp stove that we borrowed to cook on; throughout the weekend we made grilled cheese sandwiches, fajitas and breakfast burritos…yum.

Due to the current lack of rain in the area we didn’t see many wildflowers but the cacti were blooming like crazy.

Mark and I went on an almost 3 hour hike Saturday morning {not entirely intentionally, we forgot the map}; we hiked around the upper and lower falls, stopping off at the old McKinney family residence. The water-worn rock is similar to what I imagine the surface of the moon to look like.

Sights like this amaze me…can you imagine how long it took for the river to carve those curves out of the solid rock? Nature is simply amazing.

Mandy and Jake joined us for the second day and, after a night of card games played by the light of an emergency glow stick, we went out hiking again, this time stopping to wade in the falls and soak up some sun. I could have laid on that rock with my feet in the running water listening to the falls for hours. This is what camping is all about!

Three Day Weekend

December 5, 2010

A couple of weeks ago Mark and I both took an extra day off from work so we could enjoy an extended weekend together. We had plans for camping the whole weekend and though it didn’t turn out quite like we had planned we still had a great time.

First, let me back up a few weeks…about a month ago I tried to make reservations at a state park within 2 hours of Austin and everything was booked, everything. I was so disheartened that I almost gave up on camping but Mark suggested we try a smaller park around Lake Travis. We settled on Sandy Creek which was only about a 30 minute drive; it’s a pretty small park with no electricity and only a few water faucets but we figured it would be better than nothing. Our friends Paulo and Amanda came too and at the last minute Mandy and Jake decided to join us as well, I’m so glad they did!

When we got to the park there wasn’t anyone at the front gate to charge us to get in and with the exception of a couple of run-ins with an over zealous park ranger and a group of boy scouts we never saw anyone else in the park. Woo-hoo for free camping! We spent Friday night huddled around the fire and listening to music; I had forgotten how relaxing that is. Mark and I had only one small flashlight that I kept in my car but we ended up not needing it because there was a full moon shining almost as bright as a street light, there were even shadows from the trees. We all had chili and cornbread for dinner and it was sooooo delicious. I had made the chili in our slow cooker the day before along with the cornbread and some banana bread too. The chili was so easy, I literally threw a bunch of stuff in the pot and let it cook for 8 hours, now that’s my kind of cooking!

Saturday morning we all hiked down to the lake and explored the rocky water line. Since this wasn’t a state park there were no hiking trails and we ran out of interesting things to explore around lunch time so we all piled into one car and took a scenic drive through the hill country around the lake. After 30 minutes of driving we ended up at the Oasis so we decided to stop and have margaritas and some chips and guacamole overlooking the lake.

It was a fun weekend with friends and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so we can go again. Not to mention I crossed a couple things off of my Autumn bucket list!

One More Year

October 27, 2009

Well, today I turned one year older…it was kind of a strange feeling, I think I’m reaching that point in my life where birthdays are just a reminder of how fast life is flying by. For example, over the past few months when I’ve been asked how old I am I seriously had to stop and think about it, as opposed to during high school when I could immediately reply with whatever teen number it happened to be. It’s just a weird feeling, this getting older…I don’t quite know what to think about it.

My birthday weekend began with my parents, Mark and I taking a trip to see the Baeckers of San Antonio. My cousin Chris and his wife Jenny have four of the most adorable and well behaved little girls ever, the youngest of which just recently made her grand entrance into the world. We wanted to come see & hold new baby Sloane and also celebrate Reese’s birthday which was last Wednesday. It was such a great visit, we shared wedding photos, watched football and went on a walk with the girls.


Sunday, Mark and I drove down to Pedernales Falls State Park to enjoy the beautiful, cool weather hiking around the rocky falls. Our family had been camping here a couple of times when I was growing up and I always remember it being one of my favorite parks.



We had such a great time hiking around on all the huge rocks, the surroundings were so serene and the sky was filled with big, puffy clouds. Driving down that winding park road and seeing the falls again brought back a lot of great memories of camping with family and friends. Hopefully Mark and I will continue the camping tradition so that someday we can share those fun experiences with our kids.


deer flower


It was a perfect outing with my wonderful husband and I can’t wait to make more memories like this together.