Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mount Bonnell and Mayfield Nature Preserve

On Friday morning instead of taking my usual walk around the neighborhood for a non-running exercise day, I hopped in the car and drove over to Mount Bonnell. Mount Bonnell is the highest point in Austin. I had already driven over to that area, just to see how to get there and what it was like. It’s over by Laguna Gloria, the Austin Museum of Art, so I already knew that it was in a hilly, beautiful area of Austin.

Austin isn’t mountainous by any stretch of the imagination, but its definitely hilly on our side of town. Austin kind of sits on a divide. To the east toward Bastrop and Houston, the land flattens out. You run into pine forests and different plants and animals. West Austin is the beginning of Texas Hill Country, without question the most beautiful part of Texas. Well I guess I shouldn’t say that, since I guess some people would say Big Bend and the Rio Grande should lay claim to that. But the hill country really is beautiful. None of the hills are huge; I think Mount Bonnell is around 875 ft above sea level. But the land is full of rolling undulations and endless valleys followed by steep inclines. In the valleys in the springtime flowers bloom and little creeks roll over rocks.

So I drove to Mount Bonnell and parked in the spaces provided at the bottom of the steps. Now Hong Kongers will laugh; to get to the top of this “Mount” takes 108 steps! Heck, the Big Buddha has close to 400 steps, and most of our hikes in Hong Kong included at least one trek up 800-1500 steps. So 100 steps is truly nothing, and as a workout Mount Bonnell was a disappointment. But the view was really nice! It was quite panoramic.

In one direction I could see UT and downtown Austin.

In the other direction the hill country spread out endlessly, with Lake Austin and the Hwy 360 Bridge providing a nice contrast with the mansion-covered hills.

I needed more exercise, so as I was driving back home I decided to stop at the Mayfield Nature Preserve, close to Laguna Gloria and see what they had. They had some nice trails that I explored for a bit, and what looked like a beautiful garden, that I decided to save for another day.

The True Blue Flower Gail featured in her gardening blog the other day was right along the path!

And, they had peahens and peacocks! The peacock was quite entertaining. He put on a show, and I could only assume this was just for me, since the other peahens had wandered off, and I was the only female around! He kept turning in a stately circle, as I crept after him with my camera. It was a nice way to end a very pleasant morning!

First he coyly peaked at me around the corner...

Then he spread his beautiful feathers!

Delighted, I crept closer and he started to turn, first one direction...

And then the other!

For more information about Mayfield, click here:

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful capture of the peacock~and Texas Hill Country sounds beautiful! gail



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