Hiking the Greenbelt 2-21-2015


Barton Creek

Barton Creek

The weather had warmed up and it had been a while since my last hike so I decided to take a short walk in the Greenbelt in Austin. This time, I entered by the Scottish Woods Road off Loop 360. There are a lot of cars parked on both sides of the road as it is a popular entrance to the trails. It beholds us visitors to be nice and respect the neighborhood and the people who live there.

The entry is across the road at the very top of Scottish Woods Road and is actually off Camp Craft Road and it leads immediately onto the trail known as the Hill of Life. They were not kidding when this trail was named as it is a real killer. The terrain is rocky, with concrete steps here and there and is very rough underfoot. What makes this a real tough trail is the steepness. It seems almost vertical but of course, is not. It is steep though. My guess is that it is probably between a half and three-quarters of a mile long.

Some people use this for their exercise and believe me, it is a work out in both directions. One lady passed me going down and then passed me again on her way back up. As though this was not humiliating enough, she passed me a third time going in the opposite direction. Finally, feeling a bit like the old man that I am, I asked her if she just walked this hill for her exercise. She said that she was aiming for three times up and down and that would be her work out. I congratulated her on her fitness and continued my weary way back to the top. By the time I reached it, my legs were really tired. Below is a picture of this super fit lady on her way up.

Lady Climbing the Hill of Life

Lady Climbing the Hill of Life

I made it to the bottom and headed west off to the right in the direction of the Twin Falls, not too far from the bottom of the Hill of Life. As it was such a beautiful day, there were many hikers, cyclists and of course dogs. Lots of dogs, all enjoying themselves. Below are some pictures of the walk down the Hill of Life.

The Twin Falls are about a quarter of a mile along the trail from the Hill of Life and many people were enjoying its beauty, which can change depending on the amount of water flowing through the Creek and the time of the year. I took a picture of the Falls but the sun was giving me problems as you can see from the picture. It is possible to walk across the Falls and continue the trail on the other side. As I was watching, one avid cyclist was carrying his bike back across and managed to slip on the rocks and took a tumble into the creek. He still hung on to his bike and manfully climbed back out and made it across as nonchalantly as possible as though he had never fallen in.

Twin Falls

Twin Falls

Continuing on the trail, I chatted to some of the hikers as we passed including a group of four young ladies who were obviously enjoying their walk taking pictures on their smart phones. Seeing my camera, they wanted to know what I was taking and why and of course, I was more than happy to tell them. Their eyes opened wide when I said that I would probably take more than a hundred pictures and would only keep 20-30 of them. Below are some of the pictures that made it..

I came to one area that was exceptionally green as a small stream was continuously running. It is amazing what effect water has on plant life. Most of the scenery was more drab and grey waiting for Mother Nature to break out in all of her glory and this particular stream and rocks really stood out.

As is true of much of the Greenbelt, the rocky areas added to the scenery. Some had small caves carved out of the hillside but they all presented a grand display.

As it was getting late and because I knew that I had to climb up the Hill of Life, I turned back about a mile beyond the Falls and passed the same group of young ladies making their way home. I reached the bottom of the climb and made my way upwards into the clouds (well it seemed like that) passing the lady I mentioned previously. Actually, she was passing me, three times in fact. I finally reached the top as one thing I have learned as age has crept up on me and that is how to pace myself. Slow and easy is the word and just keep moving. Below are pictures of the hill looking up. Unfortunately, they are not in 3D so do not really show how difficult it is.

I already talked about the lady working out by climbing the Hill but several athletic people were also using the Hill and were quite literally, running up the Hill albeit at a slow pace. Even so, I take my hat off to them. All in all, I covered nearly 5 miles and enjoyed every minute of it, Hill and all. I plan on going back…

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