Someone must have told us about Hamilton Pool. The drive there, from our apartment on Speedway, was a lot more tortuous than today. At the time Hamilton Pool was on private land with a $1 entrance fee. Still a bargain today for those with a concession. As we took the rocky trail down to the grotto I saw my first Texas armadillo. So much excitement in one week!
We have visited Hamilton Pool many times since our return to Texas in 1994.mostly the day after our anniversary but sometimes on the day. Things have changed quite a bit over the years. With the explosion of residents in the greater Austin area you now have to book to visit after May1st. We weren't anticipating a crowd on our arrival at 10:45 am. in February, despite it being a Saturday. We were wrong. There is limited parking and all the parking places were taken. We had to wait until someone left and vacated a parking spot. I think it was about 15 minutes but as we were leaving a few hours later the line of cars waiting for spots reached almost to the road. I'm not sure I would have that much patience.
The trail drops quite steeply from the parking lot to the river. We first took the trail to the left which heads down to the Pedernales river. What started out as a chilly morning was turning into a beautiful day.
The creek, which feeds into the Pedernales, was running quite well. We have seen it with almost no flow, especially during the drought, although there is always some water from the springs that feed the creek. Bald cypress stand with their roots in the water. Soon they will be in leaf.
Red Buckeye just coming into bloom
Along with the Mexican plum.
I even spotted this fossil ammonite on the trail. This area was once an ancient seabed during the Cretaceous period and there is plenty of marine fossil evidence to be found.
We finally arrived at the Pedernales River. After years of drought 2016 brought replenishing rains. Our lakes are full and the rivers are running full once again.
We retried our steps and continued on the trail to the grotto. Long before we arrived at the pool we could hear the waterfall. Hamilton pool is a collapsed grotto and the creek leading up to the waterfall a collapsed river. As water passed through the more permeable years it hit a layer of less permeable material and began to flow sideways eventually eroding until it collapsed.
On entering the grotto if you look to the left you will see the keeper of the cave. I am sure I am not the first to notice these eyes watching as I entered.
It's a scramble over the rocks
and in some places tight squeeze.
And you can't help but look up and wonder when the next layer is going fall down.
As we returned to the parking lot I noticed this piece wood. I only saw one name written on the cave wall. Maybe their idea is working.
We found a picnic table and had our picnic lunch. Another honeymoon over!