We visited Spring Lake area on December 29, 2012 for a day, after a white Christmas at home.
Aquarera at the head water is a popular place, even in the cold Texas winter (~ 40F). Many families go there to visit the water center and to take the glass bottom boat tour
Spring lake is a very delicate ecosystem, and critical habitat for several endangered species, water access is restricted. Only Aquarena's kayaks/boats can be in the water, and kayak tour is guided by a staff. We were the only group that afternoon to paddle in glass bottom kayaks on the lake.
|looking into water through the glass bottom of kayaks|
Our guide is a UT San Marcos geology student, who is very knowledgeable about the geology, ecosystem and wild life at the lake. We were led a leisure pace to various locations on the lake to see underwater features - bubbling springs at the bottom of the lake, historical underwater landmarks, fishes, turtles and more.
|foliage in winter?|
In addition to turtles popping up here and there, fishes swimming by the kayaks, there was something we did not hear about before. The guide directed our attention to a beaver like animal in the water, nutria. The second time we spotted a nutria, it was near the bank, I paddled fast to get close to capture its image when it was out of water. When it is out of water, I could tell it is definitely not a beaver. The third time I saw it was when we were on the way back to dock. I gave that nutria a bit chase to make it jump and dive; it swam really fast.
|Nutria in water|
|Nutria on a log|
The wetland at spring lake is an oasis for me as well, still, clear reflective water, sounds of birds, sights of wildlife. I kept paddling forward at a slow but steady pace, ahead of the rest of the group, caught scenes the rest did not see, like nutria on the log, and close up of grey heron and its reflection in the water. I was immersed in this natural beauty, enjoying every minute of it. Then our guide called out, "time to turn around". One hour on the water was a bit short for us!!
We all agreed that it was one of the best kayaking experiences we had had.
|silhouette of a big bird|
|A King Fisher|
|Paddling in Spring Lake|