I had itchy feet again yesterday as well as the urge to take pictures so I packed up my stuff, jumped into the car and headed towards Bull Creek Nature Preserve off Loop 360. Pulling into the parking lot, the only other vehicles there was a construction truck with three Hispanic gentlemen sitting and enjoying the beauty of the surroundings as they ate their lunch.
I wandered up and down a little still in the lot, trying to decide which way to go before I put on my pack. On the way back to my car, there was this fairly large turtle that measured about six inches walking across the lot. Being the good guy that I am, I decided that it was a little risky leaving him where he was although I have to say, for a turtle he was making pretty good time as he walked towards the water. I picked him up and deposited him much closer to the water so that he had a better chance of making it. I was probably ten feet above the water from where I was and it seemed too far to just throw him in so I decided to let him find his own way and if he chose to jump, so be it…Do turtles jump?
I returned to the car and put on my pack after checking the camera, grabbed my monopod and off I went travelling downstream. I hadn’t gone more than 50 yards and I came across this big rock sticking out of the water. It was covered in turtles from very small to absolutely huge, with several probably more then a foot long. When they saw me, most of them slid into the water and I managed to get a couple of shots of the remaining two or three. As I looked into the water which at this point is probably more than ten feet deep, I could see many more large turtles just floating or swimming around. It was a veritable turtle haven. If you click on the picture, it will enlarge and you can see the size of the turtles. The one nearest the water looks like the back of his shell is damaged. Must be an old guy…
Moving on with my hike, much of the trail was wet and muddy caused by the water as it seeps out of the soft limestone rocks. A bit different to many of the trails I have been on. Eventually, the trail led me down to the river bed where I was walking on solid rock. I came across some double lines cut in the rock and recalled that there were similar tracks in Round Rock created by the wagons that followed the Chisholm Trail. At one point, there are two distinct set of tracks that finally merge into one as they lead up and out of the river bottom.I wonder what the history is behind these tracks. Are they a part of the Chisholm Trail or just those made by the locals as they used the river bottom as their road? Obviously more research is required.
Continuing on downstream there are some huge chunks of rock that probably fell from the cliffs above over the years. Looking at the horizon, the wealth of man was very obvious in several places as the houses overlooked the valley below. At the bottom end of my hike, I came across a Bull Creek District Park that even had permanent restrooms. It is located at 6701 Lakewood Dr., Austin, Texas 78731 and is a good place to start next time.
I passed a few other hikers out to enjoy the wonderful day, not yet so hot to be uncomfortable as we all know the Texas summers can be. Starting back towards my car, I crossed over to the other side of the Creek to make my way back. This side was more like the regular trails that I hike in the other places that I go with the trails under and through the trees. At one point, the seepage from the rock was very consistent and a dense growth of hanging moss was suspended from the rocks. It looked very pretty.
I came back to my starting point and decided to keep going for bit to explore the trails going upstream until I came to the Loop 360 overpass. At this point, I turned back and made my way back to my car. There were many more people about especially in the Parking Lot and couples sitting off by themselves enjoying each others company in beautiful surroundings.
My turtle friend was no longer where I left him so hopefully, he was cooling off in the water along with his buddies. I packed my gear back into the car after my usual change of clothes, headed to Cedar Park where I needed to visit the Hill Country Garden Center. All in all, it was a very nice hike. Unfortunately, the scenery is pretty repetitious and there are many pictures of the Creek and the rocks surrounding it and not much else. Enjoy.