Friday was a good day to get away from the city and plant ourselves into no-signal land. After work, we quickly finished packing up, grabbed the pups and headed out of town. Three hours later, we landed in Lost Maples Nature Trail, set up camp for the night, cracked a beer or two in front of a small fire, then proceeded to bed.
I had been in charge of most of the packing, as I was working from home that Friday, but I failed a bit in the food department. The morning breakfast plans were supposed to be eggs, sausage and potato with coffee and berries. I forgot to bring a knife, so the potato was out, and I didn’t bring a storage container for the rest of the sausage (forgot to divvy it up). But we still made do with what we had. We used a good chunk of the sausage and fried it up with the eggs and basically had a very meaty breakfast. I did remember the berries so we plowed through those (and yes I shared them with the pups). I only brought enough coffee for a few cups, but again, we made do. Plus, tons of coffee, then hiking in the wilderness equals bad news bears for us women folk. No thanks.
One thing that I love about camping is the people. It’s almost like living in a small community, even if it’s only for a night. You’re all there, mostly for the same reason: to get out and see nature, to get away from the city, to get some exercise….something of that variety. There’s usually always a welcome nod, or a ‘Hey, how ya’ doin” as you pass by another camper, something that doesn’t always happen in the city.
The morning was cool, around 45 degrees, but it felt great. The air was fresh and perfect for a long 4.5 mile hike. I was greeted right away by a pair of cardinals, dancing and playing in the tree branches.
The landscape of Texas changes drastically over the miles. Where I am, in the Austin area, we are smack dab in the middle of the rougher, rockier hill country, and the flat, grassy plains, reminiscent of the Midwest. As we headed west out toward Lost Maples, the grass became less and less, and more cacti started to pop up. The hill country became more defined, more pronounced. To some, this landscape may seem barren, or unlovely, but to me, it holds its own beauty.
One of the first main points of interest was Monkey Rock. I’m sure you can see why they named it so. I love that nature can form it’s own art pieces. Untouched by the human hand, nature does it’s best work.
Most of the 4.5 mile trail was pretty rough, full of stones and rock to navigate through. I definitely recommend a good hiking boot, like a high ankle Keen boot with a good, thick sole. This area of the trail was absolutely beautiful and a little more etched out.
Once we made it to the top, there were endless picture taking opportunities, but I tried to limit myself. We sat down, gave the dogs some water and shared an apple with them.
Towards the bottom of the hill, there were areas you could primitive camp for the night, meaning you have to hike in with all of your gear. It was an amazing spot. I definitely would have a hard time leaving that area.
Once we reached the bottom, I turned around and took a shot of the top, where we had just been. It doesn’t look that daunting, but it definitely was. It felt good to see the progress we’d made. At this point, we’d made it back to the bottom, and had about a mile of walking to go, but luckily at this point, it was mainly a straight, flat shot back.
Overall, even though the trip was short, it was great to get out, get fresh air, and get away from the hustle of the city. I find myself being able to concentrate better once I’ve had a moment to relax and re-center. When I’m out of the city, I stop thinking about all the things that stress me out. Nature takes over and I only concentrate on what’s in front of me, which is something I try to take back with me and hold onto as long as I can. I stop worrying about unknowns, and fears that I’ve made up in my mind. Out here, it’s just us and nature.