Along with my two friends, George and Gloria and of course, the two little dogs Nina and Bobby, we went hiking the Greenbelt only this time, we chose the Loop 360 entrance. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot showing how popular these trails are with the people of Austin which is good as far too many people lead sedentary lives with very little exercise. This includes the kids who spend way too much time indoors.
Gloria had been here before so she led the way choosing the direction we should go which was towards Zilker Park although we weren’t planning on hiking the full distance to the Park. As usual, the trail was easy to follow and the first thing that we came to was the rock face that is so popular with the climbers. There were several dare devils that were in various stage of the climb. We watched for a while and left with the general agreement that none of the three of us are foolhardy enough to ever want to try it.
I took a lot of pictures including several of some interesting tree trunk shapes and as before on the last hike, Mother Nature is really coming into her own and is quite literally, “Busting out all over”. Everything is growing like crazy and the plants and vegetation seems to have recovered from the hard winter. At least, our version of a hard winter. This part of the Greenbelt has a lot of rocky cliffs which themselves created a lot of interesting formations with caves and hollows just waiting to be explored. Gloria did go up to one of the caves but didn’t get beyond the entrance.
The creek bed on this stretch is absolutely dry but there were many indications of how high and strong the flood waters must have been from the recent floods. Garbage in the form of leaves and branches was all piled up in a twisted mess in many places.
Part the way down the trail we came across this huge bright green “thing” hanging from the upper branches. It closely resembled something human but the arms were way too long and head too small. Whatever it was, it was very well made and it must have been quite a feat to hang it from the branch is was on. Someone with a taste for the bizarre but extremely well done.
We moved on until we were about a couple of miles down the trail and decided to turn back as it was still a mile or so to Zilker and we had already commented on how much harder the trails seemed to be to hike.
We made good time and Gloria commented on how the trail back is always quicker than on the way out. She spoke too soon completely putting a jinx on our return time as we came to a spot where the trail had been washed out and looked difficult to cross. Being the adventurous types that we are, we followed another trail off to the left which was going up the hill following the route of a dried up-stream. About a half mile up, that trail fizzled out and we had to make the decision of which way to go, onwards or retrace our footsteps. We chose onward and literally walked the stream bed which luckily for us was made of layers of smooth rock with only the occasional boulder to make life difficult. We figured that as long as we were going up, sooner or later, we would reach the top of the Greenbelt.
Eventually, we found ourselves in the far end of the Parking Lot and we were still a half a mile from the cars but at least the walking was easier on the blacktop. Altogether we hiked a little over five miles and we all commented on how much harder it had been to hike. Even the dogs were pooped.
I plan on going back and this time, I will hike all the way to Zilker and try to find the entrance that is located around there somewhere. All in all, another fun afternoon spent with my friends.