Sunday, July 03, 2005

On the brink of delirium

Whenever we plan to go hiking, we try to get up early and have an early start to the day to beat the heat. Well, we are lazy, like to snooze the alarm, and sleep in.

Sean and I headed off to the Good Water Trail at Lake Georgetown. This trail is one that I have wanted to do for a long time. It's a trail you can park one car at one trailhead, hike, camp overnight, and end up at the other trailhead -- a 16.6 mile hike. I wanted to get in shape physically to do it last year, but never did. I still want to do the entire trail. But today was a daytrip, one where we would have to go out and back. My goal was to hike 8 miles. But with the blazing sun, cloudless sky, and 104 degree temperatures, limited water supplies, we made it a 7 mile hike instead.

The hike starts at a trailhead and a rocky pathway. We hiked through what looked to be a juniper forest, my winter allergy nemisis. We hiked through the semi-shaded forest for a while until we came to a clearing where we saw our first glimpse of Lake Georgetown.

First glimpse of Lake Georgetown - Mile 1 Posted by Picasa

Then we came across a cliff area, where the lady at the ranger station said is where all the young people go to jump of the cliff. We found discarded beercans and trash there, so it seemed to be quite the local summer party spot amongst the suburbian youth.

Me at the cliffs that 'all the young people jump off of' - Mile 1 Posted by Picasa

Getting to Milepost 1 seemed longer than it was. I didn't think I would make it that far today, since that first mile was a killer...not in terrain, length, or whatnot...but it was the heat that was the main factor. The nice part of this hike though, was that it followed the lake from above. Oh, it was so tempting to jump in.

A view of the trail - Mile 1-2 Posted by Picasa

Somewhere around 2.5 miles in, we found an area that had been previously settled. You could see the remains of an old corral and an old stone house. According to the history, this land held a flour mill in 1855, operated by Benjamin Gooch and John Owen. Then in 1879, James Knight bought the land and started a truck garden and grew vegetables, including the first strawberries to be grown in Williamson County. They chose this area to settle in because there is a natural spring that feeds through this area, which makes the land a fertile area.

Neat old corral fence - Mile 2 Posted by Picasa

Old stone house from the mid 1800's - Mile 2 Posted by Picasa

Just beyond the stone house is Crocket Springs/Gardens, the natural fed spring that flows through and ends up as a small waterfall trickling down the limestone rocks and rock cliffs to Lake Georgetown. Following rains, I think the waterfalls would be quite impressive. We took a break down by the waterfalls, a nice cool shaded area. People pulled up on their boat and jetski to check out the falls. The kids hiked up the cliff and jumped off. The water was so nice, a crystally emerald green-blue color, much nicer than polluted Lake Travis.

Crocket Springs - Mile 2.5 Posted by Picasa

Just beyond the waterfalls and back on the path was the crossing of the springs -- a stone pathway laid out to cross the spring, and a lush green garden with huge elephant ear plants nearby.

Crocket Springs/Gardens - Mile 2.5 Posted by Picasa

Crocket Gardens - Mile 2.5 Posted by Picasa

We headed on...the trail opened up to be less shady, difficult in the full sun and high heat of the day. We got to about mile 3.5, when I ran out of water in my 2 liter camelback -- which was a sign to turn around soon. We found shade, refilled our camelbacks, and headed back. Of course the hike back is not as fun. We trucked for about 1.5 miles, then took a break. We continued on like that until the end. The last mile seemed to be the hardest. We were both a little headachey, overheated, and wanting to get back to the car. Both on the brink of delirium.

Heading back..the last mile Posted by Picasa

That was one of the most interesting hikes I've done around central Texas. The trail was very quiet -- only encountered two people when we were hiking in, and 2 people when we were hiking out...besides the kids going to the cliffs. If you don't mind the sound of boats and jetskis, it's a nice hike. There is a lot to see on the hike. We only hiked 3.5 of the 16.6 mile trail. It holds so much more.

When we got home, we both took about a 2 hour nap.


Anonymous Freesia said...

Hi Marisa! Just curious... how far do you have to travel to all of these awesome hiking trails? There's nothing like that even remotely close to where I live :-(

8:54 PM  
Blogger lys said...

Yeah, I'm a real lazyass, but I'll gladly get up at the crack of dawn to avoid running in the heat. Lately I've been running in the evening because I'm still on some random time zone between Sydney and California.

104 degrees?!? That's insanity. I was complaining today about a breezy 75 degree evening being too warm for a run. I guess I shouldn't rub it in. Too much. :p

Oh, and if you run the trails, you can cover a lot more ground. Hee.

11:23 PM  
Blogger marisa said...

Lys, yeah, 104 degrees is insanity. I had no idea it got that hot..I just knew it was at least 100! Knowing how clumsy I am walking/hiking, I think trail running is out of the question!

11:27 AM  
Blogger marisa said...

Freesia!! This hike was about 20 miles from my house. Most of the hikes I go on are at the most 1 to 1.5 hours from where I live. The Texas Hill country is awesome b/c there are so many hikes, lakes, state parks, hills, scenary. Even within the Austin city limits, there are greenbelts around and plenty of hiking :)

Chicago..hmmm..let me do some creative googling for you ;)

Weekend ideas - within 3 hours driving? - Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline, Rock Island State Trail, Sand Ridge State Forest. May be a nice camping/hiking combo?

Another GORP site about hiking around Chicago

5.9 mile hike along Illinois and Michigan CAnal to convergence of Illinois and Kankakee Rivers

Kankakee River State Park - has some trails - hike/bike/horse. Don't know if you can hike on the bike trails or the equestrian trails, tho (here, hike and bike trails are popular..don't know how they do things there) :p

Not sure how long it would take you to get here, but Morraine Hills has some trails and looks kinda interesting.

Wow, that was tough ;) I'm also going to venture to guess that you might be able to look up cross country skiing trails, and in the summertime, they might be hiking trails?

Good luck!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Freesia said...

Marisa, thanks for the creative Googling! I haven't been to a couple of the places you found but for most of 'em, it's kinda like a been-there-done-that type of deal. Thanks again for taking the time to look all that stuff up. You rock :-)

10:46 PM  

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