Pedernales Falls State Park (with some old geezers)

I squandered the perfect itinerary for my parents on day 1 of their visit, so their visit followed more of a gentle, exponential decline rather than the other way around. They arrived happy and left snarling, the way all family interactions go. Family, am I right? But this was the best I could do, weather permitting.

Although Austin offers a lot of local hiking spots, I would call these walks in the woods rather than a hike. To get a real hike in, you have to go further out of the city—about an hour or so—to Texas Hill Country. Here, you’ll find all the rolling hills that Texas has to offer, wineries, olive oil companies, and breweries!

I want to introduce you guys to Pedernales Falls State Park. So far, it’s been my favorite near-Austin state park! I didn’t know how gorgeous until we drove down to their most well-known cluster of trails and rounded a corner—I wouldn’t call them trails exactly, just footpaths leading to the same thing. And that thing was the Pedernales Falls themselves.

The most confusing thing was finding the way onto the rocks. We kept seeing people stumble onto the other side but had no idea where or how! We ended up finding a cluster of rocks that looked enough like stairs to climb down. While trying to find the way down, a gaggle of people accumulated behind us. Apparently even when lost, we look like we know what we’re doing—fake it until you make it, I always say.

At one point, this Chinese guy who had already made it down was trying to help his friend make it down too. He spotted my mom at that moment, climbing down the “stairs” and said to his friend in Chinese, “Look, if those old geezers can do it, you can too! It shouldn’t be too hard!”

My mom had to stop climbing because she was laughing so hard. “Old geezers?!” she said later, “I don’t even have any white hairs yet!” 

My only thought was that I hope he hadn’t lumped me in with my parents. It’s way too early for that to be happening.

After lounging around and generally enjoying the scenery for a while, we spotted something. Can you see it? Look closely:

There were people IN THAT HOLE. I was immediately determined to climb to that exact same spot! I was going to conquer the hole. My mother opted out while my dad trudged along behind me, watching closely to see where I stepped. I wouldn’t have advised him to do so because my ankles are basically like jello—they twist and sprain easily, but bounce back just as easily. Maybe jello wasn’t exactly the right comparison. Sticky tack. Yeah, that’s better.

I really wish that I’d either brought my GoPro or my camera up there. The scenery behind the rocks, the rock formations, were really quite cool. I asked the dad to take some with me in the scene for reference, but he really doesn’t get the whole background scenery composition thing. Like this, for example:

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 22.11.51
Originally, there was this cool hole that ran all the way up to the top. I have no idea how it got there, but it looked like someone would use it for a chimney! But all you get is this really happy photo of me, too bad!

For some reason, the following photo is the type of photo that you would use if I went missing. It just gives off that post-biopic vibe, don’t you think? Ain’t no mountain high enough… do you see it too now? I threw in an end credits song for you. So for future reference, if I suddenly go missing, use this photo.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 22.12.02
After we both conquered the hole, we went to another site to check out their swimming sites and soaked our feet, reveling in the 78 degree weather.

“Is this how you spend your weekends?!” my mom asked as we made our way slowly back to the parking lot. All of our faces were slightly tanner and glowed from the invigorating day; our bodies felt exactly the right amount of tired that came before a good night’s sleep.

I smiled. “Yeah, it’s been pretty great in Austin so far.”

The perfect day trip itinerary

So I realized I can’t reference my idea of a perfect day trip from Austin without saying exactly what we did. Here it is:

  1. Brunch at Juan in Million (amazing, face-size breakfast tacos)
  2. Drive to Pedernales Falls
  3. Stop at the Olive Oil Company en route back to Austin
  4. Alamo Drafthouse, if not too tired

What’s your favorite state/national park?

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  • Katrina Elisabet

    Is it sad that my one take-away from this post is “So for future reference, if I suddenly go missing, use this photo”? Pretty hilarious! I want to climb in that rock now, too. One of my coworkers is flying into Austin today, and I’m regretting that I wimped out on my original plan of stowing away in his suitcase…

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hahaha at least one person will know then! :p What!! We could’ve met up… think of all the adventures. Hopefully he comes back with a lot of stories for you haha

  • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

    Beautiful! I really love the photo of you on the stepping stones, it’s swoon worthy! This looks liek the perfect place to enjoy nature at it’s finest. And, hahaha to the missing photo comment ;)

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks, Marcella :) I was in love with it too haha… in a non-narcissistic way. I could’ve spent a whole day just sitting there…

  • Courtney @ Adelante

    Hah! I can’t believe that guy called your parents old geezers! It sounds like a pretty great adventure though. That said, I don’t know if I’d have the guts to climb up to that hole! I’m a pretty accident-prone person, so I could only imagine things going poorly.

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Haha, I know! The nerve!
      Even though I usually go for things, my legs were a little shaky while I was up there. The people down there looked so small haha.

  • Jessi @2feet1world

    Wow this looks like such a cool spot! Love how everyone lined up behind you – so true, if someone looks like they know what they are doing everyone else totally follows!

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hahaha, during one of the times we were lost, we were following someone else who then turned out to have been following us! It’s a chain of following!
      Thanks, Jessi :)

  • Kerri

    I mean, you can kind of make out the background… if your head was smaller ;)

    Just kidding – it’s a nice head.

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hahah thanks, Kerri ;)

  • Sara

    How cool! That picture of you guys in the hole makes it look super impossible that you could have climbed in there, haha.

  • Holly Hollyson

    Very gorgeous – great prep for your new job too!