The forecast has been teasing us here in Austin since the end of last week, promising sunny days and warmer temps, but not delivering. This glimmering hope of sunshine and 50 degree temperatures seemed to taunt me as I showed 30+ houses to clients over the course of three days. The good news? Yes, we found them a wonderful new home, and we are officially under contract! The bad news? Its cold and rainy, and we Austinites miss the sunshine! No complaints, but warmth and the typical bright blue skies are intertwined among the reasons we choose to live in Texas, right?
SUNSHINE! This is something Austinites love as our beautiful city has so much to offer in the way of outdoor activities. I could never tire of kayaking/paddle-boarding on Lady Bird Lake while enjoying the downtown skyline, hiking and exploring the many greenbelt trails, diving into our numerous (and spectacular) swimming holes or enjoying an evening on a patio with cold drinks and great friends.
I know, I know, just the thought of it all has me longing for summer already, so I’ll stop! There are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors during the winter months here in Austin, as long as its not raining!
One of this city’s greatest treasures is its expansive greenbelt trail system. Take it from me, your hiking/biking routines don’t have to come to a halt just because the weather is a bit cooler. It is still a fantastic way to get out of the house, get your blood flowing and reconnect with dear old Mother Nature.
Barton Creek Greenbelt, taken on one of my winter hikes, shot in January of 2014.
Yes, winter visits offer a completely different experience than summer, but the sights are equally as beautiful. Not to mention, it is absolutely fascinating to be able to experience the exact same place in two very different visual existences.
Time lapse photo I shot on a hike last January at Twin Falls.
Although protected greenbelts stretch throughout all of Austin and the surrounding Central Texas areas, the Barton Creek Greenbelt serves as a centrally located natural oasis, just minutes from the city’s urban core.
Taken on one of my winter hikes in January of this year from the Twin Falls access point of the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
See? We really do have the best of both worlds here as Austin boasts a city lifestyle with abounding, convenient opportunities for enjoying the rugged outdoors. So bundle up this weekend and check out the Barton Creek Greenbelt access point map for the trail nearest you.
A few quick tips though… if you are unfamiliar with the trail, either map your hike with GPS or carry a map. Also, be careful during the winter months that the sun doesn’t set while you’re miles into the trail. My dear friend Stephanie and I learned these lessons the hard way!
On one occasion, Steph and I took a wrong turn on the way back and ended up quite a ways from our trail head. The sun started setting FAST, and our phone batteries were dwindling. We laugh about it now, but at the time, we panicked! We stopped, checked the GPS map of our hike and realized we were not even close to our trail. In fact, it was about a fifty foot vertical climb up, right above us.
So, panic mode fully engaged, we turn around and start sprinting in the other direction, terrified at the thought of being lost in the cold for the night. Don’t get me wrong, we love the outdoors, but we were by no means prepared to “rough it” all night.
After backtracking about a mile or so, we hear voices up above us.
“Hello?! Can you help us?” we call out from below. It was pretty much dark at this point, and we were certain they would be the last voices we heard on the trail that day. They called back down to us so we scurried up the hillside, got back on track and to the car before long. Needless to say, we are now more careful, and you should be too! I doubt there are any big bad wolves out there waiting for ya, but do you really want to spend the night lost in the cold?
Anyway, I plan to hit some of my favorite trails as soon as we get some sunshine, and you should too!
And quickly, before I go, here’s a quick look at what you can expect in the blog in the coming weeks! More market updates, my 2015 Austin bucket list, SXSW announcements + tons more on Austin treasures!
Happy living and loving amigos,