The Texas Hill Country, January 8-10th

The Texas Hill Country, January 8-10th

January 8, 2021: We left Austin Friday afternoon excited about camping for the first time on this trip. We got to Blanco River State Park by early evening and were surprised to get a key on check-in. When we arrived at the site, sure enough, a spacious lockable screen room with picnic table inside awaited us. There was an adjacent outdoor picnic table and fire ring overlooking the river. After some discussion about whether we should use a tent at all, and if we should put it inside or outside, we decided to put the tent up inside the shelter. After all, it was really cold. We felt a little silly when we noticed our camping neighbors with tents outside their shelters, but not too silly. It was cold!

Saturday was gracious enough to bring blue skies and sunshine. We went on a short bike ride along the river and noticed many dams with spillways along the course. We counted 4 in the 1.5 miles we traversed. These spillways certainly created deeper pools for the extremely avid fisherman wading into the river who seemed to not notice the weather at all! We took an afternoon trip to Wimberley, Texas. We had read that this little town was the new hot spot for well-to-do Austonians who could now work from home and were eager to escape the city. Sure enough, the little town was bustling. A dozen or more shops and restaurants faced the main street, but backed to a beautiful and clear tree-lined creek that ran through the town. Cypress Creek originates at a deeper section in a just beautiful regional park and is known as Blue Hole. One thing that stuck out to us were the real “rope swings” from the trees, except that instead of ropes, they were actual chains. Most parks do everything they can to remove rope swings, but not in Wimberley, Texas. They make them legit, sanctioned, and safe.

The temperature was dropping, but even so, the water looked tempting. It was easy to imagine the summer crowds frolicking in the creek, enjoying an outdoor meal and beer(s) and relaxing away the long hot days. We could certainly see why this charming town was a draw.

We woke on Sunday to the sound of pouring rain which quickly turned to pouring sleet as the temperature dropped and eventually became snow. We were feeling pretty smug about our decision for putting the tent INSIDE the shelter. This also made for a relatively dry and quick pack up and we were on our way. Blanco State Park remains one of the nicest, cleanest well equipped parks we have ever camped at!

A nice hot meal at the local Chess Club CafĂ© was a welcome treat and we were on our way to further explore the hill country, with Luckenbach Texas in the GPS. 

We weren’t sure what to expect in Luckenbach, but were certainly surprised to find an unpaved dirt loop road that led to expansive (empty) parking, a music hall, an outdoor (empty) stage, and a building that housed the general store, post office, and town saloon. We were told that music happens there seven days a week at 1:00 PM, unless there is snow. Okay, so we didn’t get to hear music, but we are sure we met all three of the town’s inhabitants. We are also sure none of them were Willie Nelson. 

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