Hamilton Pool Preserve
When we moved to Austin in January 2014, it was the dead of winter in the place we were leaving and nearly spring in the one to which we were headed.
After living our entire lives in the Texas panhandle, we were making an Over Fifty move to the Texas Hill Country.
From the normal to the “weird.”
From the land of cotton and windy days to the land of wineries and cedar haze.
Eeek – know before you go. This rustic ladder is the only way down to the pool.
On Every List
So, what do you do when you’re moving from Amarillo to Austin, and the only part you’ve ever seen before is the Capitol Building?
You Google stuff.
That’s what you do when you move. You pack a box or two and then plop down on the couch for half an hour of internet investigation. What is there to do in Austin? Top 10 Things to Do in Austin, Texas. 100 Things to Do in Austin Before You Die.
Stuff like that.
And before long, you’re getting excited about the things you might want to see and do when you get to that faraway place where you’re going. Because all the experts are doing all the things.
And making all the lists.
Pretty soon, frontrunners begin rising to the surface. A few choice places start appearing on every influential list.
Be prepared for a slippery path.
The Springs in Austin
There’s nothing like a good long list to inspire anticipation, and I was definitely in the zone. The adventurous possibilities ahead for us in Austin looked boundless.
There were restaurants to try, churches to visit and endless places to explore.
Like the springs.
At first sight, Hamilton Pool is breathtaking.
It Takes Time
Back when we moved from Muleshoe to Lubbock, people still received a new phone book every year. The phone company hired people to go up and down the block, leaving on every front porch a big fat volume of names, numbers, ads and coupons. Lucky for us, Southwestern Bell wasn’t the only game in our new town, and the competetitor had come up with a pretty bright idea. A mini-book.
For like forever, the phone books were the same size. About like a sheet of printer paper. But, this new company had printed a smaller version, and it took the town by storm. It was way easier to carry the compact size under the seat of our car, which made it much more convenient to look up addresses for all.the.restaurants we wanted to try.
Over the time we lived in Lubbock, Texas, we managed to eat at least something from the menu at SEVENTY-TWO different restaurants.
It takes a while to check important things off your to-do list.
Or circle them in a phone book.
Visitors can walk under the waterfall on the path beside the canyon wall.
Intentional Adventure Was Our Jam
It takes time, but when the list is as long as ours, it also takes a bucket full of intention. You gotta get up the gusto and stick to your guns.
That’s why I started blogging. It was a way to keep track of our exciting new Austin adventures. When we went somewhere new, I wrote about the experience. If we ate at a restaurant for the first time, I took pictures of the food.
There was so much to do that I don’t see how anyone could do it all. Ever.
But we certainly did try.
This is Aly, my adventure buddy for the day.
When Life Gives You Lemons
And then, after five years, we were in a position where another move was imminent, and packing up our belongings was soon to be a certainty.
So, up the road to Dallas we came.
I changed my blog from Austin Over Fifty to Texas Over Fifty and started a new list.
Life was still an adventure, and God was still good.
If life gives you lemons, making lemonade is a really great idea.
So much to photograph.
One Thing Left to Do
Before the last box was packed and ready for the trip to Dallas, my sweet daughter, Aly, had a proposal to make.
Mom – I’m coming over to Austin, and I want us to do something that’s still on your list that you haven’t gotten to do. Is there one thing left to do that we can do together?
My eyes welled with tears, and my heart jumped for joy.
There was no doubt what that one thing would be.
We took chairs and coffee!
There’s a Reason
Sometimes, after seeing a certain restaurant pop up on every blogger’s list, we would try it for ourselves and wind up being a little disappointed.
Other times, we walked away from experiences in wholehearted agreement with all the touting.
There’s a reason some Texas places find their way to every Top 10 list, and Hamilton Pool Preserve deserves its claim to fame.
Helping others capture the moment at Hamilton Pool Preserve.
We Loved It
Aly and I loved our mother-daughter time at Hamilton Pool Preserve. We took too much stuff, but, oh well. It didn’t matter.
As we sat in our camping chairs, drank our hot coffee, and enjoyed the cold mist in the air, we talked about life. About how, just when you think things are regular, going smoothly, all ironed out, a surprise is probably just around the bend.
But, if we get in the habit of expecting an occasional display of God’s handiwork at the end of the downward hike, on the other side of regular, we might just get to witness something a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Or spectacular. Something only God could accomplish.
Like this pool, and the water falling into it over the side of a canyon.
Even though we had seen pictures online, nothing really prepared us for the jolt of beauty we saw with our own two eyes.
Sure, the stone steps were slippery on the way down. It wasn’t all that easy to get here, and the weather wasn’t warm enough to swim.
But it was beautiful and worth every step of the trek.
Another pretty picture of Aly.
A New Thing
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the day I did the one last thing I wanted to do in Austin.
Of course, we’ll go back to the Capital City and keep exploring the Texas hill country when we have the chance, but we live in Dallas now.
And God has done a new thing.
Isaiah 43:19 is a verse I love from the Bible. It’s one of those verses you just want to cling to with everything you’ve got. Especially when life gets a little wacky.
I’ve written so many things in my journals about disconcerting times, pouring out the hard details of one heartache or another, stopping to wipe the tears before they dripped onto the page.
But I’ve also been overwhelmed at the goodness of a God whose mercy and provision spring up out of the dryest wilderness. I’ve learned to expect God’s goodness to appear and overpower the drudgery of a rocky, slippery path.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Like throwing a life preserving ring into the threatening waters, God’s mercy extends immediately to our deepest need. If we but hang on, he promises to pull us through.
Life preserver hanging close by.
More Things to See
I loved Austin like nobody’s business. It’s been the number one place to live, three straight years in a row, for Pete’s sake. Everybody loves it.
But Austin isn’t the only part of Texas that I love, and I’ll never stop wanting to see the entirety of our beautiful Lone Star State.
In fact, since we got to Dallas a year ago, hardly a weekend has gone by that we haven’t been out exploring something somewhere.
Are we really in Texas?
Your One Last Thing
If you knew you were moving from the house in which you live, or the city in which you reside, what is one last thing you’d try to see? Are you stuck in a rut or exploring around? Is there something you’ve never done or never seen? It’s that one last thing that, if life took you somewhere else, you would regret not having done it. Or seen it.
Don’t wait. Do it now.
And if it just so happens to be Hamilton Pool Preserve, make your reservations here.
Know Before You Go
Those lists of top ten things were helpful, but those of us Over Fifty need to know a few things before we go. Like where are the restrooms and how steep is the way.
A little more information is contained in the video below, and I refer to the big announcement – our move to Dallas, which has already been done.
Thank you so much for following along on all my adventures here at Texas Over Fifty, dear friends!
Encouraging everyday intentional adventure and accomplishing that one last thing,
A few other posts you might enjoy:
Another beautifully scenic place to enjoy nature in Austin is The Violet Crown Trail. You’ll have a hard time believing you’re right in the middle of a big city when you’re on this trail.
Turn on some Bee Gee’s, open the sun roof and take a day trip to Pedernales Falls State Park. It’s an easy drive to a relaxing spot.
Of all the iconic places to visit in Texas, Luckenbach might be one of the best. What could be better than a lazy afternoon spent listening to live music under massive old oak trees?