I’ve had the itch to get out of town and so I made it happen. Thursday I packed the car with all our supplies and went to work Friday waiting for the end of the day. I packed camping supplies but had a grumpy partner worried about a hot, humid and mosquito filled night outdoors. It’s too bad because I love hot humid camping! So I started a search online for hotels. Turns out Austin hotels are expensive! Even the local hostel was $100 per night for a private room and they were sold out. So after searching some more I found a deal on hotwire.com. Sixty bucks a night and the room is yours… but in what hotel? You don’t find out till after you pay. I played the game and won. Our hotel was the Hilton right on 6th street in downtown Austin. So next time you need a hotel room, check out hotwire.com and take a risk. Normal rates at that hotel are over $200/night.
We got a late start Friday evening but made it to Austin just in time to throw our stuff in the hotel room and head to the streets. The streets were hoppin with life and we weaved our way through to find some street food. Food trucks and pizza by the slice were everywhere so we dove in head first with some yumtastic “not on my diet food”. It seems it’s a battle of who has the best pizza because every corner has a pizza place. We didn’t watch the madness too much because I knew Saturday we were going to have to squeeze a lot in, and oh boy did we.
Saturday included: A hike, swim and rock jump at Mckinney Falls, a trail walk around Zilker park, a swim in Barton Springs, lunch on South Congress St., live music and a run around the city while David took a nap! It was awesome to spend the day outside and bounce from place to place in short amount of time. The outdoors is part of Austin, and everything we did was less than 20 minutes from the city center. No matter the time of day or heat there are people running, walking, biking, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, playing with their dogs, playing games at the park or just chillin outside. Like minded outdoor people sooth my soul.
Although we did a lot during the day I was set on walking down to the Congress Street Bridge to watch the bat emergence. In grad school I helped on a few bat projects and one was monitoring the populations of Mexican free tailed bats in Clarity Tunnel (near Caprock Canyons State Park). The Clarity Tunnel population is not accessible by vehicles and is located in the middle on no where. It was awesome to watch the bats under a full sky of stars and with dive bombing great horned owls looking for a meal. With this past experience my hopes were high for the emergence at Congress Street. I was not really impressed with the bat emergence but was extremely impressed by the people emergence! We arrived on the grassy knoll to watch the bats about 7:30pm and by 8:45pm the entire grassy knowl, bridge sidewalk and water were filled with people! All to watch the bats! There were kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and large boats in the water watching as well. Sooo crazy. As much as I value the in the middle of nowhere experience, this was awesome to see so many people demonstrating some bat love and not running and hiding thinking the bats will kill them. I love my crazy insect eating bat friends and I loved seeing others appreciate them.
I was sad to leave Austin. The culture of uniqueness, the undertones of a green city, food truck galore, clean water to swim in and of course hot and humid!
I will be back Austin. I will be back.