Saturday, July 16, 2016

Kayaking and Paddle Boarding at Austin

Zilker park and the surrounding area - Lady Bird Lake (a.k.a portion of Colorado River near downtown Austin), is our favorite place to go when we visit Austin.  We have been there a couple times before, and were really impressed by the river and hiking/biking trails along it, but had not got a chance to be on the water.

There are many kayak/canoe/boat rental along the Colorado river near downtown Austin. We went to Zilker park boat rental by Barton Creek, near the famous Barton Spring pool. Barton Creek is a tributary of Colorado River, its water is clearer and cooler than Colorado river;  mature trees line along the creek, make it an ideal place for kayak, canoe or paddle boarding.

We arrived at the rental place shortly after 9am, parking lot was still near empty, and after a short back-and-forth on kayaking or paddle board, we rented two kayaks. Justin and Mom paddled one kayak, Nicholas and I rode the other.

It was a cloudy morning with breeze, perfect for kayaking. Justin and mom quickly paddled away; Nicholas and I paddled slowly near the banks of the creek and the river to enjoy the plants, animals, and shade when Sun came out. We saw many turtles on the logs, water snake swimming, geese by the pier of a bridge on Colorado river. When we looked up to the bottom of a big bridge we saw a lot of pipes - apparently water pipes, sewage pipes, pipes for electrical lines, and maybe even fiber optics.

It was only about an hour when we got back to Barton Creek after paddling pass 4th or 5th bridge in the downtown direction. Lily and I were really enticed to try stand-up paddle board. Finally we decided to change one kayak to two paddle board, and keep one kayak. Nicholas and Mom would continue kayaking, while Justin and I paddled the boards.

It was first time ever for both of us to try stand-up paddle boarding. The instruction was really simple  - start by kneeling on the board, when feel comfortable, push the board to stand-up. We quickly got the feel and stood up on the board. Stand-up paddling gave me a feel of walking on the water, and a feel of totally conquering the river!! It felt great.

We paddled to the left - upstream when getting into the Colorado river from Barton Creek. The river flows really slow due to a dam upstream. The kayaks and kayakers, the boat, paddlers and paddle boards on the river formed a scene by themselves. We paddled the boards gently, and Lily and Nicholas paddled their kayak around us to take pictures.

When we got back to the mouth of Barton Creek again, I asked if Lily or Nicholas wanted to try paddle board. Lily jumped on the offer despite not wearing a swimsuit. I got off the board, anchored their kayak, and helped Lily get off kayak and get on the board.  When in water, I swam across and creek and back to enjoy the cool and clear Barton Creek' spring water! Lily was exhilarated to paddle the board stand up.

When we got back to the rental put-in, it was 12:30pm already - we had been on the water the whole morning. It was great!
upstream from the boat rental is the Barton Spring pool

A bridge over Barton Creek

paddling near the river bank
Turtles on logs
Downtown Austin

Bridges over Colorado river

Nicholas and Dad passing a pavilion
Geese by a pier  

stand-up paddle board

lying on the paddle-board

Splashing water
paddlers and Downtown high-rise

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