Thursday, June 11, 2009

an awesome Hill Country trip!

This is one of the things I love about being a writer. Well besides the fact that I just get to GO to cool places, I also get paid to do it! Doug and I have talked about a camping trip for a while, and we finally found a good weekend to do it. Then I asked around, to see if I could land a couple of assignments because that would turn a relatively inexpensive camping trip into an opportunity to do some extra fun stuff and get paid for it! (Course I still have the hard work of writing it up - but that's not so bad). I got not one but two assignments! One is to write a feature on bats, and another is a general travel story about the areas I visited. Coolio! So here's a photo recap of our incredibly awesome fun-and-action-packed trip!

We love making silly faces! Just about to embark on our 3 day trip to the Hill Country.
Our first stop was the cool eatery Vivo on the east side of Austin. This shot is a bit dark but there's a waterfall behind Doug, and the outside patio is bedecked with greenery. It has great atmosphere and awesome food! Their motto is "Better than sex Tex-Mex" - LOL.

Doug forgot how to use a fork :) He ordered the quesadillas, and I ordered the California chicken nachos, which were topped with alfalfa sprouts & pico de gallo, and were really yummy!
Doug has a bite of sprouts - lol. He's turning into a chia pet!
Quit taking pictures of me so I can finish this darn message! ;)

The peeps at Vivo eatery give every woman a rose after their meal. Nice touch!

Doug playing an oversized guitar in Austin. We had about an hour to walk around down 6th street before meeting up with a biologist from Bat Conservation International for my stories.
Me and Doug on the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, overlooking Town Lake. About to see a million bats emerge! This weekend was our 6-mo anniversary, and we didn't even plan the trip because of that! :) And Doug wore this Pink Floyd shirt the day I met him. Good choice! :)
Mylea Bayless of Bat Conservation International talks to Doug on top of Congress Ave bridge as we wait for the bats. I had just completed my phone interview with Discovery Channel Earth Live which will air sometime soon!

A view of Town Lake. Some people watch the bats from boats and kayaks.
Bats! This was taken by Doug, at Austin's Congress Ave bridge.

Being silly in the car! We did Mad Libs as we drove. :)

We stayed at the the Fredericksburg Inn & Suites the first night after seeing the bats in Austin and even made it in time to lounge in the not-quite-hot-enough-but-still-nice hot tub! It sits on 5 acres and has a historic building as part of the hotel. These sycamore trees were by a creek running through the property.
The first view of Enchanted Rock from a distance - taken by Doug. We drove there Saturday morning to pick our tent site and set up camp before heading to Colorado Bend State Park to hike and swim.
Me, just arrived at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area about to set up our tent.

Prancing in the rocks at Enchanted Rock. Darn shorts keep falling down! Doug titled this pic on his myspace "The wild Wendee is very rare to spot" or something like that - lol.

Our tent site was awesome! #25 :)

Next we drove to Colorado Bend State Park, which is about an hour away from Enchanted Rock. We got there for a 2pm guided hike to Gorman Falls but got there early with time to swim and play in the swift but shallow Colorado River.

Kissing again! :) They should just attach us at the lips :)

Me and Doug in the Colorado River, Colorado Bend State Park, happy!
Me hiking the trail to Gorman falls.
Me and Doug at Gorman Falls

Gorman Falls
Kissing again!

Gorman Falls. Gorgeous!

Next we headed to the Old Tunnel WMA (Wildlife Management Area), a pseudomaternity cave where mostly female bats roost but also some males. The females don't give birth here like they do at Austin's bridge, but leave to give birth and then come back a few weeks later to raise their pup. Doug is waiting for dusk so the bats emerge.

A view of the "old tunnel" that provides shelter for up to 3 million bats. There were only around 1 million at the time we visited because the babies weren't born yet.

Bat crossing sign at Old Tunnel WMA. TX Parks & Wildlife biologist Nyta Hensley gave a most excellent and informative 20 or so minute presentation on bats. It was really great!

But first... before we watched the bats we grabbed a burger at Alamo Springs Cafe. It's right next to Old Tunnel WMA and you can have an awesome meal while waiting for the bats. This is Mike Tangman, the owner of possibly the best burger in TX!
Burgers up! Alamo Springs cafe outside of Fredericksburg, near Old Tunnel WMA where people see millions of bats emerge- the best burger in Texas?

Our meager campfire didn't last long, but at least we succeeded at starting one!

Some cool rocks at Enchanted Rock St Natural Area. The next morn we hiked to the summit.

Another silly self-portrait while hiking Enchanted Rock.
Doug on summit trail, heading back down the rock.
A vernal pool thingie on top of Enchanted Rock. They were very lush this time. Must have rained recently.
After we packed up our tent, we headed to browse the shops in Fredericksburg but I didn't take any photos! Then we headed to the Sauer-Beckmann Living history farm at the LBJ National Historic Park not far from town.

A view through the homestead window at the Sauer-Beckmann farm.
Don't touch! Ha! All this canned stuff is actually grown and canned etc by staff who work at the farm. Pretty cool!
Award winning wine! Last stop, Becker winery near Stonewall, not far from Fredericksburg.
Bunny Becker at the Becker winery outside of Stonewall, Texas.

We enjoyed a $5 wine sampling session! :)We look like we had about 5 glasses of wine here rather than 5 tiny sips... but alas it's just a bad picture :)

3 comments:

Doug said...

Well done blog babies!!! Love the pictures and captions.It was a fun trip and wonderful company :-) Love you!!!

WENDEE HOLTCAMP said...

Thanks babe! :) <3 x 1million!

marianne said...

What a wonderful trip! Beautiful photos especially the one of the bat sign.