state park

Field Trip - Bastrop State Park

rollin' down the highway headed to our new home in austin smoke filled the evening sky, offering an oddly beautiful sunset tinged with sadness and destruction. helicopters in the sky, firetrucks lining the backroads, make shift churches set up offering some respite for those battling the blazes, these were our first images of texas. it was labor day weekend of 2011 and while we were ready to start our new life in austin the worst wildfire in the states history was raging a few towns over. the hardest hit was bastrop and for the first time since moving to texas we went to the state park there this past weekend. a year and a half later the damage caused by the fires is still very real and very evident.



Field Trip - Return to Pedernales Falls

with the threat of rain looming all weekend we decided to go back to pedernales falls for a few hours early saturday morning. pedernales falls and caprock canyons are without a doubt my two favorite parks in texas so it was great to go back and explore a little more than the last time we were there. this place is like a jungle gym for grown ups; endless opportunities to hike and climb on the fields of boulders carved out by the river running through the park.


Caddo Lake

another three a.m. alarm wakes us, time to pack up and hit the road, this time five and a half hours north-east of austin to caddo lake on the texas louisiana border. we've fallen into the habit of setting out on our weekend trips at an early hour, sometimes out of necessity but more often than not just to add to the sense of adventure. something about driving on empty texas roads in the dark of night still feels so liberating to me, open sky and open roads. not to mention that waiting for the sun to peak over the horizon seems to make the hours fly by. we arrived in karnack and found our campsite before the morning fog had even burned off. surrounded by towering pines and spooky bald cypress trees we grabbed a canoe to set out and explore the waters.

launching from the banks we paddled through a swamp filled with massive bald cypress trees, branches hanging low with spanish moss, the sight was so foreign i felt like i was on another planet.

continuing through the thick lily pads the swamp spills out into an expansive channel lined with old stilted fishing shacks. even in their state of disrepair it seemed as though they were still used by the fishermen living in the area.

after some more paddling and a laughable attempt at fishing from a canoe with two dogs itching to get out and explore themselves, we headed back to get set up for the night.

even after hours on the road the thought of kicking back and simply enjoying the beautiful scenery just does not mesh with the wanderlust we have. we both constantly need to be doing, which is what drives us to venture out in the first place but tends to be a hinderance once we actually get to our destination. so we've been trying new things to keep ourselves occupied once we settle down at our campsite for the night.

as the sun went down and the cold blew in we stacked on the layers and quickly retired to our tent and a mountain of blankets. even after all our preparation the thirty six degree night time low was still unbearable. as much as we try to fight, i see the purchase of some actual cold weather gear in our future. layers upon layers of sweaters, hats, gloves and blankets couldn't save us from the frigid night. after waking up it took us a good half hour of walking along the edge of the fog filled swamp before we began to thaw.

taylor up ahead exploring on her own, i had the camera slung on my back while i tried to navigate the stump laden water line only to look up and see a blue heron fly through the fog and trees. quickly grabbing my camera i was able to fire off one shot as the giant bird flew by. no time to compose or set focus, and still the shot ended up being my favorite from the weekend, it conveys the eeriness of caddo lake perfectly.

full set from the weekend by clicking here.

Caprock Canyons State Park

hey y'all, taylor here. last week marked my 24th year. i feel very strongly that my age reflects nothing about me, even so, I feel the obligation and desire to celebrate. lucky for us, my idea of a birthday hoopla is doing what we normally do any ther weekend; camp. 

we left austin at 2 am in shorts and t shirts, drove 7 hours north to quitaque, tx and while stopping for coffee at a gas station, we got out of the car and's damn cold outside! we arrived at caprock canyons sp, greeted by a few dozen bison with the red rock structures off in a distance creating the most beautiful backdrop. 

we drove a few miles down into the canyon and set up camp right on the edge of a red, sandy plateau overlooking a near dry stream filled with the footprints of the locals. 

hiking out of the riverbed we were greeted with miles upon miles of buttes and canyons. 


when the sun went down, we sat close to the fire to stay warm as the temperatures dropped to a brisk 38 degrees. 

we woke up early the next morning to several howling coyotes and to see that some critters had visited hour camp in the night. caprock canyons was a perfect place to celebrate the next year i have to forward to... i know it will be an exciting one with many adventures!

click here to view the rest of the set.

Mustang Island State Park

we made it to mustang island this weekend to escape the heat of the city and for some swimming and camping. named for the wild horses that once roamed the shore and located in port aransas on the coast of texas, mustang island is a 5 mile stretch of beach that offers drive up camping and a tent view that can't be beat.

the swimming was a little warm with a temperature of 85 degrees, but was still great and a nice change from the 68 degree temperature of barton springs.

night fall brought a campfire, cooking and an amazing starlit sky.

we were hoping to see some of the perseid meteor show, unfortunately we weren't able to see any in the sky and only captured a few with long exposures.

sunday morning we woke up to see the sunrise over the ocean and do a little more swimming before we packed up.

we will most definitely be back to mustang island in the future. the only downside of this park is the fact that we'll be cleaning sand out of our gear for the next week.

more photos in the gallery!