So, I’m bringing you another trip report today. Sorry! Unless you like those, in which case, you’re welcome! I certainly like them. But first: exciting news! About 2 months ago (I know, I’m behind) we heard back that Evan got into Pitt Med School and Baylor College of Medicine!! YAY!!!! I can’t tell you how nice it has been to see all of his hard work pay off and know that he is going to get to live his dream. It has been pretty fantastic to see something concrete in our future as well. All of our contingency plans and what if’s have been forgotten as we’ve been preparing to start his road through med school (which starts in about a month and a half!)
After we found out, we decided to take a celebratory rock-climbing trip out to Enchanted Rock. On our way there, we stayed with my good friend Emily in Austin! It was pretty awful timing on our part, being the night before her big senior presentation and all, but we went out to dinner and had a great time anyways! Somehow I managed to not get a picture of Emily at all (sadface), but just know she was there and she was awesome. Goodness gracious, the Austin area really is the pretty part of Texas. It’s so green!
When we got to the city, we had some time to kill before Emily finished with her presentation group so we took in the sights! We saw a sign for this outdoor art festival that was randomly happening the same day we were there, so we decided to check it out if it wasn’t too pricey. We walked up to the ticket booths, but they were empty so we just walked in! Apparently we happened to get there right before it closed so they let us in for free. We were just walking around for fun, so we were able to spend exactly as much time as we wanted looking at all of the unique booths.
We saw the capital and took copious pictures of ourselves in front of the cool murals and interesting sculptures throughout the city.
The Royal Blue Grocery is going down!
I’m also pretty sure that Austin is the Portland of the South. Growing up in Texas, I saw all of the tie-dye shirts telling us to “Keep Austin Weird” but I never fully understood what it meant. I get it now. Austin is weird, in the coolest of ways. Two weird Austin-y things we saw during our afternoon in the city: 1. Apparently there was a race going on that required men and women alike to sport a sparkly and/or frilly red dress and run through the city. Greatness. I’m sure it was for a noble cause like heart health awareness or something, but it certainly looked pretty ridiculous. 2. We also saw something that looked like a trolley, but was powered by everyone on the ‘vehicle’ pedaling bike pedals. Austin is a pretty hilly place and we happened to see them passing when they were going up a tiny hill. You could hear the leader yelling “Come on, just a little further! Keep pedaling!” And everyone else in the trolley grunting and laughing as they pushed. Ha! I just kept wondering what they did when they got to the really big hills. Maybe they just avoid those parts of town. Or just wait until they get a large group of really eager people. Either way, Austin is weird and super fun.
After our stay in Austin, we drove on over to Enchanted Rock and took in some of Texas’s natural beauty. Enchanted Rock is a nice mix of desert and green. Does that make sense? I bet the pictures will help. Look! Bluebonnets!
We sported our climbing gear and hiked all around looking for places to climb. This is where we probably could have done things better. We didn’t get a climbing book, because we have an app that tells us where climbs are. Which would have been fine if our phones worked out there. Which they didn’t. So we ended up just walking around looking for bolts. We found some, but the routes looked pretty difficult and we didn’t have anything to tell us how doable they actually were so we ended up just hiking around. But it was actually quite lovely! I love having a laid back approach to vacations (especially road trips) so you still have amazing memories to look back on even when things go wrong. And really, it was GORGEOUS! Get ready for me to spam you with pictures (including some gems of Evan)!
There were such pretty desert flowers and little baby cactuses everywhere!
That last one is one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip. It was a tiny little cactus, too. Just to give you some perspective.
We even saw this cool lizard hanging out next to it!
After our day of exploring we went back to our campsite to make some dinner and enjoy the beautiful weather.
I also found a woodpecker! And then proceeded to take an obscene number of pictures of it. But it was so cool! Did you know that woodpeckers can hold themselves onto a branch even if they’re upside down? It’s true. I have proof.
This is my favorite picture of our little woodpecker friend.
That night was the night of the red moon lunar eclipse so we stayed up until something like 2:00 am to watch it! That is very late for me right now. I normally wake up for work at 4:00am, so it was a challenge.
It was pretty cool. Something I probably wouldn’t do again on my current schedule, but cool nonetheless. Here’s a blurry picture! Sorry, it was really hard to get a good picture without a super awesome lens and a tripod.
They next morning we made the hike to the top of Enchanted Rock. It reminded me a little bit of hiking in Moab with it’s big, solid, reddish rock. It was a harder rock than the sandstone in Moab, but it still took me back!
And we saw another even cooler lizard!
The top of Enchanted Rock has all of these little oases! It was pretty cool! Each oasis was in a different stage of growth so it was cool to see them all.
And the view was beautiful.
Evan decided to take a little nap.
We even found a cave to explore! We didn’t go all the way through the cave, but it was fun to go through the first part before the steep and narrow drop into darkness.
In the end, our rock-climbing trip turned out to be a bit of a bust, but our camping and hiking trip was absolutely divine! I’d recommend Enchanted Rock to anyone in the area. It was the perfect celebration for some wonderful news. I hope Texas is happy with us because we’re going to be here for 4 more years!