Saturday, February 2, 2013

Zilker Park at Austin

On the way home from San Marcos, we visited Austin. We visited Austin once before - toured the capitol and strolled in Lyndon Johnson Presidential library. This time we went where locals go - the Zilker park

Austin skyline viewed from the shore of Lady Bird Lake in Zilker Park

When got there, we were instantly attracted by runners and hikers on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. Parked our car at the end of the road, under a bridge, we joined in the action, Lily and Justin raced across the lake via a pedestrian bridge. Nicholas and I followed them.

In the lake rowers were rowing, many duck like water fowls swam around, and quite a few grand egrets dotted the shore lines on both side of the bridge. Austin downtown skyline was in sight as well.There is Texas Rowing center on the north side, and a kayak/canoe dock on the south side. It was cold that morning, the kids had no interests to kayak. 

Kayak dock 
We turned around, Lily and Justin raced again. Instead of checking other attractions in the park, we stayed on the trail, joined the crowd on the south side of the lake, jogged toward east. There was a continuous stream of runners and joggers, dotted by tourists like us, validating the claim that the trail is the most used trail in Austin.

About 3/4 of a mile, we reached Lou Neff Point, where one can have good view of downtown skyline. At Lou Neff Point, the trail takes a sharp turn into a cove, numerous water fowls there. Then we saw two big swans in the crowd of black water fowls. 

A few hundred yards along the cove, we saw a solo swan. As I kept taking pictures of the swan as it changed its postures, locals ran by without stopping to appreciate its beauty. Apparently the swans are regulars there as well.

There were also a few grand egrets along the shore of the cove, as always, they are solo. One in the water, another on the other side of the cove, on a tree.

We intended to walk along the whole loop of the trail, but not knowing where the turning point is to cross to the other side of the lake, and Nicholas was tired, we turned back after about 1.25 miles.

As we were near the Lou Neff Point, a big bird on a log expanded its wings, looking side to side, for about a minute or so. I observed it all this time to see what it's going to do - it retracted its wings, stayed on the log, doing nothing special.

This winter holiday we stayed in town most of the time. This short two day trip to south, at San Marcos and Austin alleviate my crave to outdoors, and I was pleasantly surprised by both locations we visited.

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