Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Austin Marathon and Spring Lake Preserve - Sunday, February 15, 2015

After our great Sunday in Port Aransas with Faye and Dave, and seeing whooping cranes for the first time, it was back to work for Bob Monday through Friday, and Wednesday through Saturday for me (second week in February).

On Saturday, Bob drove 1-1/2 hours to pick up his Austin Marathon packet. At 4:00 am Sunday morning we got up then headed to Austin at 5:00 am. The marathon start was around 7:30 am for Bob's bracket. The plan was for me to hike in San Marcos, have lunch with the group, then pick Bob up about 1:00 p.m. As RVers we all know about plans made in Jell-o, right?

I dropped Bob off in Austin near the marathon start point and headed south to San Marcos, Texas, to hike with the San Marcos Area Trail Walkers on a four-mile, two-hour hike in the Spring Lake Preserve near Aquarena Springs. We were to meet at 9:30 am.

I was there by 7:15 a.m. Because I had been to Aquarena Springs/Spring Lake before, I knew I could do a short hike to the Wetlands Boardwalk and see if any interesting birds were up early. I love the light for early morning photography.

Below is the old Spring Lake Park Hotel which is now Meadows Center for Water and the Environment run by Texas State University.

Meadows Center for Water and the Environment
The springs that form Spring Lake come from the Edwards Aquifer. From the Edwards Aquifer Website is the following description of San Marcos Springs:
"One of the greatest outflows from the Edwards Aquifer is the San Marcos Springs. More than 200 springs burst forth from three large fissures and many smaller openings. Early travelers and settlers described the large ones as fountains, gushing water several feet above the surface of the stream they created. Today, the Springs lie at the bottom of Spring Lake and are viewed through the floor of glass-bottomed boats."
I walked along the lake toward the Wetlands Boardwalk. In the leaf-naked tree I saw a beautiful red-shouldered hawk. As I was taking photos, another red-shouldered hawk flew by, landing in a nest in the crook of a tree.

Red-shouldered hawk
Red-shouldered hawk on its nest
After watching the hawks take turns on the nest, I headed onto the Wetlands Boardwalk. Not too many birds were out in the wetlands. I saw turtles, fish, and some interesting water plants.
The back, unlocked entrance to the boardwalk
Water lilies and another interesting aquatic plant
On this early Sunday morning, a number of scuba divers were suiting up to jump in and explore Spring Lake. 
Scuba divers entering Spring Lake
Meadows Center for Water and the Environment
It was close to 9:30 a.m. so I made my way back to the parking lot to meet up with the hiking group. Introductions were made and we set off into the Spring Lake Preserve. This was my first time hiking with this group, although I soon found one lady with whom I had hiked a few times with the San Antonio Hill Country Hikers.

Spring Lake Natural Area Trail
Our hiking group on the trail
Our hike leader, Rob, talking about the trail
View from the top of a hill
Pencil cactus - look at those spines!
New development next to a historic structure
It was at this point in our hike, a little over half-way into it, that my cell phone rang. Bob called to tell me he wasn't feeling well and opted to do the Half Marathon, not the full one. He was finished and waiting for me in Austin. He was feeling dizzy and nauseous. It was at this time that the rain started.

What a dilemma. We had about 40 minutes left in our walk. Because I did not know the way back, I stayed with the group.

We debated what this building was used for.
Hike with a view
Unusual cactus next to the trail.
As soon as we returned to the parking lot, my phone rang. I had hiking poles, umbrella, camera, and car keys in my hands. The rain was coming down steadily, I was wet, and trying to get into the car, remove my wet coat, and answer the phone all at once. It was Bob telling me he was waiting on the curb outside an IHOP in Austin.

In my haste to get out of my wet coat, my hiking pole hit my glasses, knocking them off my head into the gravel. My hearing aid went down with the glasses. No harm was done to either accoutrement.

I used the restroom, said good-bye to the group, hopped in the car, and made my way 1/2 hour to Austin to pick up my ailing honey. There he was waiting by the side of the freeway access road. Luckily it was only drizzling in Austin.

We headed home. Bob slept most of the way. When we arrived home, he promptly fell asleep in the recliner for the remainder of the afternoon. I'm proud of him for recognizing the Half Marathon was his limit today. He received a beautiful Austin Half Marathon medallion. Way to go, Bob!

Travel Bug out.


  1. Oh I hope Bob will feel better after a good rest. Glad you were able to finish your event up and get him before he sat there in the rain too long. Why didn't he wait inside? Guys!

    Kareninthewoods and Steveio
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  2. Goodness, you both had an eventful day

  3. Too bad the walks start so dang early.

    1. It was the Austin Marathon that started so early. My walk didn't start until 9:30 a.m. I got there early (because I had dropped Bob off so early) and did my own walk starting about 7:45 am, then met up with the group at 9:30 am.


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