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Archive for February, 2010

tree huggin’

I love Austin’s green spaces and places.  When I first moved here, I hiked several times a week with my best pal Petri Blue.  I remember thinking how fantastic this was, to have wild places within the city limits, that the people here didn’t let the urbanscape obliterate the natural beauty.  I remember wondering why these Texas woods smelled like hamsters, and how in the world I could so easily have a private walkabout away from the hustle and bustle of town without having to make a road trip.  I’ve since  learned about the overgrowth of Ash Junipers in the local landscape, commonly called “Cedars” and I think they smell like the cedar shavings used in hamster bedding – mystery solved.

This city has grown a LOT in the 15 years I’ve been here, but it still cherishes its watering holes and greenbelts.  Amo & I went for a long and lovely hike on part of the Barton Creek Greenbelt this past weekend, and among all those cedar were some treasures:  grand old oaks, sycamores, berry-bedecked holly, creeping vines, ruins, and a gushing-rushing creek (rare in this neck-o-the-woods) .  I forgot my camera, but Amo’s phone worked fine in a pinch.

We wandered off our main trail (aptly named the Hill of Life) on a whim, and found ourselves on an adventure, destination unknown – a controlled sense of being lost can be invigorating!

We found  a groovy tree with a needle-eye hole in one of its branches, and the spikiest, scariest greenbriar vines we’ve ever seen.  We found remnants of an old tree fort and rock wall.  We found other awesome things we can’t write about here because we want to surprise our friends on our next outing.  Take a gander:

I spent soooo much time as a kid wandering around in the woods alone, imagining fairies and elves and indians and such.  I’m so glad Austin has allowed me to keep the hobby as an adult, giving me plenty of stomping grounds to wander and find the hidden and unexpected things, spaces to let my imagination run wild.

Amo summed things up nicely when chatting with an acquaintance we met on the trail out (it is a small world after all):

My walking stick?  Never leave home without it.  I like to poke things.

-Mel

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