Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Krause Springs Eternal (17th Anniversary Weekend Part 2)

Photo by Self “Absorbed” Timer

Some would say that using an alarm clock while on vacation is absolute insanity. I say take a Texas vacation including outdoor destinations in August, and you might begin to understand.

The subsequent departure toward an unknown destination didn’t faze me, because the rolling hills make every road in the Texas hill country a scenic drive. I got a clue when we turned off the paved road and started seeing signs for Krause Springs.

We passed a camping area, a grassy field dotted with tents overshadowed by large hardwood trees, and parked in a gravel lot near a small house. Outside the van we heard only a slight breeze in the trees and the deep, rich tones of very large wind chimes. A few steps beyond a wrought-iron gate, to our right we saw a butterfly garden and heard the babble of springwater falling down a man-made rock wall.

A gaunt elderly man, shaking slightly with what appeared to be Parkinson’s Disease, stood near the house smiling as a camper thanked him for a wonderful time. The older gentleman guided us to a small table, where a man in his early 30’s and grizzled with a thick, unkempt red beard took our $5 each and had us sign a waiver. Its margins shouted NO DIVING FROM THE BLUFFS.

(click any pic to enlarge)

Redbeard gave us a few tips on where to find the trails, and we were on our way.

[photopress:DSC_8797_sm_blog_1.jpg,thumb,alignleft]A few people, including parents with buoyant babies, enjoyed the confines of a spring-fed, man-made swimming pool. Still cool in the shade of the forest’s edge, we couldn’t imagine getting into the cold water. I had flashbacks to the times that a friend and I swam in the Little Red River, which stays a constant 55 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. That might have been okay when I was fourteen and sweaty.

[photopress:DSC_8798_sm_blog_1.jpg,thumb,alignright]I wandered to the end of the swimming pool and peered down between the brushy green tops of towering Bald Cypress trees. That was where Nature’s pool, and for me the big payoff for the drive, awaited. Bordered in places by smooth boulders, craggy bluffs, and shaded forest floor, the water’s surface already undulated with the movement of the day’s first swimmers.

Shannon and I descended a perilous-looking but sturdy staircase down the grotto’s steep hillside.

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Look closely for an idea of how high the rope swingers flew.

There were only a few swimmers at first, so I snapped a couple of nearly people-free pics before we explored downstream. Between the campsites atop the bluffline and the arid, cactus-adorned rocky hillside, cypress trees of all sizes filled the narrow forest. When the woods opened up into another camping area, we headed back to the main swimming hole, by now getting fairly crowded.

[photopress:DSC_8842_sm_blog_1.jpg,thumb,alignleft]Adults floating on various colorful inflated objects watched mostly teenagers swing wildly on the rope swing. A few kids flouted the waiver’s uppercase admonition and leapt from the bluff. Although adults were watching them, when a boy no older than six hesitated at the edge, I handed all my electronics to Shannon and prepared to jump in if his attempt went wrong.

Click to go to Part 3.

6 Responses to Krause Springs Eternal (17th Anniversary Weekend Part 2)

  1. This sounds like a great weekend, but I agree that I don’t know that I would want to jump in the freezing water either – though the rope swing does look kind of fun! Look forward to hearing more about the trip!

  2. I know EXACTLY what you mean about preparing yourself to help the six year-old. I have always wanted to be on the lookout for other kids’ safety, but ever since having my own, that sense of watchfulness has only increased. Must protect the younger generation!

    The scenery there is simply amazing, and must have been a whole heap of fun to walk through. The rope swing made me very jealous, and all that water to play in is incredibly tempting.

    My only complaint is that I miss the little arrows at the top of your pics that allow me to view forward or backward without closing one picture and manually clicking on the next. Or is that a Firefox vs. IE thing? I’m viewing on IE from work (*ahem*) right now, and would normally view on Firefox at home. If it’s a browser compatibility issue, then never mind.

    To look that disgustingly happy after 17 years? My goodness.

  3. Simon – Yep. In the past, I might have been tempted to just take pictures of the whole thing and figure, “Ah, that dude in the innertube will go save him if something happens, and I’ll still have pictures.” (okay, not QUITE that jaded, but I was a photojournalist once, so almost)

    Regarding the photo navigation — it’s all in how I post the pics. Lately I have bumped into an incompatibility in the way I post photos from my online gallery, which has made it a much slower process. So when posting large numbers of photos I revert back to a prior method. Notice that on my main page, if you click on the Wordless Wednesday picture, it still allows the navigation (but does not show the arrows, for some reason I still have not ascertained). I’m working to fix all of this.

    Also, wait until the whole page loads before clicking to enlarge a pic. If all the scripts have not loaded yet, then clicking a pic will merely open that pic in the main browser window, not in a fancy Lightbox popup. That part, I cannot help. The features I (and the wonderful readers) enjoy require more than a little bandwidth.

  4. Wow, and that’s a GORGEOUS picture of you and Shan to start this post with!

    Sounds like she did a wonderful job planning this trip!
    Way to go Shan!!!

  5. Great picture set, Mark. The top shot of you and Shan is totally frameable. Not by me…cuz I’d rather have one with Ben…but for you guys, ya know?

    The rope swing shot is wonderful. It captures that moment when free fall begins and your stomach drops. Makes me jealous.

  6. Dave and Moksha – Why, thanks. The Mrs. and I were particularly fond of that shot, ourselves. I often forget about her camera when posting to the ol’ blog, but this time she reminded me.


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