Texas Hill (Mountain) Country

Toward the end of February, we spent four days in the hill (mountain) country of Central Texas.

Hill Country, as seen from a highway overlook.

Hill Country, as seen from a highway overlook.

The cabin we rented was on the banks of the Rio Frio, a beautiful, clear, lazy river, perfect for tubing in the summertime.

The Rio Frio

The Rio Frio

While in hill country, Eric took some long road rides on his bicycle, while I caught up on some schoolwork.  We hiked together quite a bite, first exploring Garner State Park.  These trails were seriously steep, and contained lots of boulders!  After clambering up the side of a hill (mountain), I was very concerned with how we were going to get back down.  Luckily, the trail on the other side was more of a trail and less of a pile of rocks, so it worked out well.

A view from the top, with hang glider in the distance.

A view from the top, with hang glider in the distance.

In the summertime, the park hosts a dance every night in its pavilion, drawing crowds from across Texas, and making it the most-visited state park in the state.

Garner S.P. Pavilion, home of much line-dancin' and boot-scootin'.

Garner S.P. Pavilion, home of much line-dancin’ and boot-scootin’.

Big Old Fat Tree

Big Old Fat Tree, with me inside.

Deciding to explore the area more, in search of trails containing less boulders, we ventured out to Lost Maples State Nature Area.  This place was astounding!  The trails were challenging, the scenery was amazing, and the place was deserted.  One day, we hiked 6.5 miles, and had the park to ourselves.  Most of the trail was up and down more hills (mountains), but a good portion actually consisted of dried out river beds.  We saw several caves and rock formations.

Actual Monkey Rock

Actual Monkey Rock

Eric, posing as Monkey Rock

Eric’s interpretation of Monkey Rock

The crystal-clear water surrounded us – in rivers and lakes.

River Crossing

Crossing the River

Clear Water

Beautiful, Clear Waters

Lake

Lake at Ground Level

And then, we climbed…

Going Up?

Going Up?

Lake from Above

Lake from Above

As you can see, there were many gorgeous sites to behold.  Four days was not enough; we could have stayed much longer.  For anyone interested in a venture to hill (mountain) country, we recommend staying in the Utopia area.  After exploring a bit, we decided this town had it all: easy access to our favorite hiking destination, excellent biking roads, a darling little restaurant, Fiddlestix (reminiscent of our Princeton favorite, The Farmer’s Daughter), and lots of character.  Come on, everyone, it’s time to head for the hills (mountains)!

Eric, taking a breather on our cabin's front porch, after a long ride.

Eric, taking a breather on our cabin’s front porch, after a long ride.

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