Friday, June 05, 2009

bats bridges camping and enchanted rocks

Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park, Texas Hill Country.
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I feel bad about not blogging more. Funny how it comes in waves. My Animal Planet blog and my book and the kids have kept me triple busy!! I had several flashes of insight in the past week though! I can't remember them though, probably because it's 240am!

I am super excited about going on a ROAD TRIP tomorrow with Doug! It's our first trip together, and my first trip anywhere in a long time. Needless to say, I feel like I'm long overdue. It started as a planned camping trip, but then I ended up landing a couple of assignments. I love when that happens! So that makes it a business trip per se, but as always a total blast of a business trip - lots of outdoor adventures!

I'm writing one article on bats, and one general travel article. The plan is first to head to Austin, eating dinner at the coolest restaurant - Vivo - that my friend Deb introduced me to last time I went there and visited, and then head downtown to walk around a bit. Then we'll meet up with a biologist from Bat Conservation International just prior to the big event - the emergence of nearly one million Mexican freetail bats that roost in the Congress Avenue Bridge over Town Lake. I've seen the amazing spectacle twice now, but it's Doug's first trip to Austin and probably first time seeing a vast cloud of bats ascend into the night sky, so I know this will be quite an exciting event for him to see it for the first time. I will be doing a podcast live from the bat scene for Discovery Channel Earth Live as I did previously for cassowaries in Mission Beach, Australia and sharks in the Coral Sea. (Even though I'll record it live, the producer edits it and it will go online sometime next week or so... I'll be sure to post a link!)

Next is a drive to Frederickburg, the quaint little German town a little more than an hour away from Austin. We will stay in a hotel the first night - the Fredericksburg Inn & Suites which is set on 5 acres and next to a historic landmark. They have a hot tub!! I am hoping we make it there before they close it at 11pm. The next morning we have some wiggle
room but I want to try to do the 2pm hike to Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park. The waterfall there is absolutely breathtaking. We took that hike and camped in that park with Sam's middle school class a couple years ago, and
I wrote about part of that camping trip in my firefly article that I wrote. We then have to make it to set up our tent at Enchanted Rock State Park, and then head to Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area to see an even bigger emergence of bats - this time 3 million! It's right next to the Alamo Springs Cafe which has gotten reviewed positively in the New York Times, and some reviewers have even said they have the best burgers in Texas. A colleague recommended it to me before I checked out their website, so I decided I just have to try it for myself. (Pic from the top of Enchanted Rock at sunset to the right, Copyright (c) 2006 Wendee Holtcamp)

Sunday we will climb Enchanted Rock - which only takes an hour - and explore around the park a bit. Then we have to hit Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park and the Sauer-Beckmann Living History farm on the way home. I've never been there! Most of the places we are going to I've been, other than Old Tunnel WMA and LBJ, so it will be fun showing Doug some of my favorite places from the Hill Country. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, so I hope that holds!


Lisa Sullivan said...

Oh my GOSH! I love every single place you speak of. Man, I miss the Texas Hill Country. How beautiful it is there!

I never got to see the bat emergence but I always wanted to. I'm sure you'll be taking lots of pics and I look forward to the Podcast too.

Have lots and LOTS of FUN, Girl!! :)

Unknown said...

I know, me too! And it's triplee exciting to have assignments so I don't just feel like I'm wasting money! :) I love being a travel writer... :)

Iolite said...

How fun! I've been wanting to go to Enchanted Rock since I looked it up a couple years ago. Seeing the bats seems awesome as well. :) Enjoy!

Unknown said...

I've been there twice now but this will be my first time camping there. I was here in TX for many many years before ever making it there. Your kids would love it to! We should do a group camping trip there!!