Monday, December 14, 2009

Colorado Bend

Leah and I had a wonderful trip to Colorado Bend State Park last weekend. I got out of work as fast as I could Friday and Leah was already home getting all of our things packed up. The weather was not exactly the best for the beginning of a camping trip, but we would not be stopped. We arrived around 9 o'clock in complete darkness. The sky was completely overcast and had been drizzling on us all evening. Fortunately we had a rather bright LED lantern complements of Marie and Ryan. They arrived later that night with parallel anticipation of better weather in the morning. We could see faint silhouettes of trees and hills around us and were looking forward to the views that we would awake to. I enjoyed the pitter patter of the light rain on the tent all night long. Leah was apparently not as confident as I in the waterproofness of the tent and so was worried that we were going to get wet all night long. We stayed dry though so that should not be a problem in the future.

The weather had improved slightly by morning; the rain had turned into the lightest form of precipitation that I had ever seen. Like an extremely thick fog slowly sinking to the ground. Breakfast was coffee and heaping piles of community oatmeal. The four of us took a well-intentioned hike up a trail next to a creek that ended in disarray. We lost track of the trail because of high water and decided that we could woods walk (meaning quite literally to walk through the woods where there is not a trail) to the road on the map. As it turned out we were not as far up the trail as we had thought and ended up walking much farther off trail than we had planned. It was mostly without incident and we saw lots of undisturbed plants and rocks that you don't usually see from the trail.

Not a bad detour when all was said and done. We were all wet and tired when we returned to camp so we made lunch and a fire. The fire was Boy Scout standard. One match with no artificial starters or materials. I was proud. The last two members of the camp-out (Christy and Tom) arrived early that afternoon and joined us around the fire for a while. Once we were fed, dried and rested the six of us took off for a trailhead to Gorman Falls. Daylight was approaching it's end and the walk was great.

The trail fell downhill all the way to the Colorado River where a spring fed creek empties over a 65 ft cliff. The water is very rich in minerals that have deposited over the years to form rounded cascades of water.

It was dark when we returned and got dinner started. The coals were still hot from the afternoon so the fire started easily. Dinner was barbecued chicken, vegetables and fried potatoes. Dessert was hot cocoa, cider and s'mores. It was a relaxing evening around the fire with good friends and easy conversation.

Sunday arrived with promising looking skies. There was dense morning fog with hints of sunshine to the east.

As the sun rose higher and came over the banks of the Colorado, the fog burnt off, the skies cleared and the temperature rose. Breakfast was bacon, eggs and toast. We all relaxed around camp while tents and gear dried out in the sun.

Marie and Ryan left early in need of productive time at home. Christy and Tom headed to the south end of the park for a walk up Spicewood Springs. Leah and I were left to our own devices and headed back to Gorman Springs for a walk out to the springs themselves. We had visited the waterfall the day before and wanted to see the springs and the creek. The walk was beautiful. The temperature was 75 F, the skies were sunny and there was a light breeze. Big dry leaves were falling from the last remnants of color left in the trees. Surely a late fall day to remember.

Christmas is right around the corner.

See many of you soon!

Happy Holidays,

Love Leah and Jay

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fall and the Family

Life certainly hasn't slowed down since the engagement. Thanksgiving break came shortly after the news. Parents Prescott and Grandma Harrison flew down for the holiday. That was a great time. They arrived on Thanksgiving Day so we moved our official dinner to Friday.

That afforded us some extra preparation time as well as some adjustment time for the family. As you all know, my sister Marie and her boyfriend live in Austin as well. The four of us split gathering time between our separate residences. Marie and Ryan have significantly more room but we opted to host the dinner at our place anyways.

Thanksgiving dinner was my favorite part of the weekend. We managed to make all of the necessary dishes in spite of our limited space. Friday was mostly an eating day. The weather wasn't all that great and seemed rather appropriate for the day. Before we knew it much of the weekend had passed and Saturday morning was upon us. Everyone was in agreement about having an easy morning and so I had time to hike the greenbelt and have Leah pick me up. Saturday was one of those fall days that will be stored in my memory forever.

The weather was perfect. It was 65 deg, sunny and dry with a light breeze. Leaves were either colored, fallen or somewhere in between. We all went down to Zilker Park to ride the Zilker Zephyr miniature train. It was absolutely great. I loved every second of it. I had wanted to ride it since we moved here.

Afterwards we took a walk through the botanical gardens and saw what roses were in bloom and a few other flowers. Saturday was also the "take the family to a real Texas BBQ day". We all drove down south to the Salt Lick BBQ for dinner. The food was not as good as it usually is but I thought it was tasty. The dessert was great and at the very least everyone got to enjoy the experience together.

Sunday came quickly. My Dad and I had a nice walk on the greenbelt in the morning. We all went to the Hula Hut with intentions of eating a light lunch in preparation for a good dinner at the Eastside Cafe. As we soon realized, you don't eat a light lunch at the Hula Hut. Leah and I split a meal and could barely finish our respective portions. Tasty it was, but the size was out of control.

Eastside Cafe was the place for dining in the evening. We have been there a few times and the food has always been great. Unfortunately this time was not so. My burger quite literally tasted like Lysol. Leah ordered crepes that looked and tasted like something an animal would forage for in the woods. I think most of the others enjoyed their meals though.

It would seem to the reader that our family and us ate our ways through Austin. After some reflection I suppose that is not far from the truth.

Since then we have been busy getting back in the swing of things. On the first Saturday of December we went for a very cold hike on the greenbelt.

Temperatures actually dipped into the low 20's which made for some interesting occurrences on the greenbelt. There is a lot of running water down there and as you can imagine some of it froze. We saw some real life icicles in Texas as well as some frozen puddles.

The creek itself is still running nicely and so crossing must be done in order to travel from our apartment to the trail's southern terminus. Crossing on that particular morning was not especially pleasant but we all lived to hike another day.

To wrap this up I thought I would give you all an eye into where I work.

Below is the outside of the building that I work in. The upper two windows on the right side are the windows to my primary classroom.

This is a picture down the hallway that I walk every morning. Science on the left, ELA on the right and social studies at the end.

This is a picture of the interior of my classroom.

This is the view out the classroom window. Football field, Opportunity Center and housing in the background.

Until next time,

Love Leah and Jay