March 11, 2019
One of the most beautiful places in the Hill Country west of Austin is Hamilton Pool, a turquoise swimming hole half tucked under a massive limestone ridge, from which a 50 -foot waterfall sheets onto a water-smoothed boulder and into the pool. In the wet season, veil-like column of water spill from other points along the ledge, tattooing a curving white line in the aqua water.
Yesterday afternoon we made the 40 -minute drive( you must make a reservation to visit) and found dozens of people enjoying a swim in the chilly pool, which is now being 25 feet at its deepest. You might have to work up the nerve to plunge in.
One shivering young couple toweling off told us it wasn’t too cold as long as you maintained swimming.
Thousands of years ago an underground cave collapsed to form the pond, and huge slabs of limestone still litter the back of the grotto. You can follow a trail behind those slabs and stroll all the way around the pool.
Maidenhair ferns and moss clothe the dripping stone in emerald lace.
Water streaming from fissures above resembles icicles hanging from the mossy outcroppings.
Stalactites on the roof’s rim look like teeth in a monster’s mouth as it swallows you up.
It’s a magical place. Naturally you can’t help wondering when the remaining roof will collapse.( Or is that just me ?) The park website says this 😛 TAGEND
As the erosion process continues, the overhang will eventually collapse and the process will begin again, with the waterfall moving back a little with each breakdown. This erosional process has been occurring for roughly 100,000 years, with the waterfall moving backwards up the canyon approximately two-thirds of a mile in that time.
Under the roof, the air is cool and moist. I imagine on a hot summer’s day it feels amazingly refreshing. But we’ve always visited in cooler months.
The waterfall never runs dry, according the park’s website, but it doesn’t always flow this heavily. After a wet winter, the flow is impressive.
David climbed down to the waterfall rock to test the waters.
Yep, it’s wet!
After exploring the pond, we hiked out to the Pedernales River, a moderately easy 1.8 miles round-trip along Hamilton Creek, which is lined with the cathedral-column trunks of bald cypress.
Gnarled roots spin and dig deep into the creekbed, anchoring the trees during inevitable deluges. In the clear, glassy water, fish and turtles floated as if suspended in air.
If you go, be sure to make a reservation well in advance for either a morning or afternoon time slot, and leave pets at home as they are not allowed. And enjoy this Hill Country-style blue lagoon.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events
Celebrate spring at Peckerwood Garden’s 1st annual Budding Out Festival on Saturday, March 30 th, from 10 am to 4 pm. Shop for specialty plants and arts and crafts while enjoying live music and exploring the gardens.
Attend Zilker Botanical Garden’s 3rd annual Starlight Social on April 11 th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. Tour the garden at twilight; sample sushi, sake, craft beer and local wines; experience the authentic chado( tea ceremony ); groove to live music; indulge at the dessert and coffee bar; get lucky at their silent auction. Tickets are $100 until April 5, then $115.
Save the date for Austin’s Open Day garden tour, sponsored by The Garden Conservancy, to be held Saturday, November 2. There will also be a Fort Worth Open Day tour on October 6. Get info about Open Days all over the country by purchasing the 2019Open Day Directory.
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