The Osprey Goes for a Swim!

Ah, springtime in Texas! Tiny little shoots of green push themselves through the warming brown dirt. Soon the blue bonnets will dance across the Texas Hill country, luring thousands to dress the children in their favorite Easter attire and sit them among the swaths of blue for this year’s photo. It really is a great time to be outdoors in Texas.

Tammy and I headed to Austin to celebrate her birthday and get some outside time hiking. After a Friday night spent Ubering (is that a word?) from one honky-tonk to another in search of some good dancing music, we were ready to shed some calories enjoying a Saturday outside. We planned to hike along Barton Creek to Twin Falls and then on to Sculpture Falls, an easy 6 mile round trip from the Barton Creek 360 Trail access.

Twin Falls
Twin Falls along Barton Creek Austin, Texas

This was also a great opportunity to test out my new Osprey Stratos 36 pack. I’ve had a few packs in my life and I still have them. After today, I’m afraid most of them are destined to reside in my gear closest all year! The Osprey is a beast! Awesome suspension system with an Airspeed mesh back panel that gives you circulation space between your back and the pack – a key feature for those hot Texas days! A seamless hipbelt which wraps you in comfort and is sturdy enough to take on a 30 lb. overnight load. All sorts of cool features like an integrated raincover, internal hydration reservoir sleeve, zippered pockets on the hipbelts which are actually big enough to hold a cell phone and it just looks cool in black with lime green accents!

Osprey Stratos 36
Day hiking Beast!

Turns out the Osprey’s not afraid of a little water either. On the way back down the trail, I thought I’d jump across the rocks and make my way to the other side of the creek. Sure the limestone was well worn and a thin coating of algae. No match for my cat-like reflexes, right? Well, I did make it across and then I proceeded to proudly announce, “Easy, come on babe.”  Stepping back in Tammy’s direction on a rock with a slight angle and down I went! Of course, this is not one of those hiking trails where it’s all peace and solitude. No, there were plenty of people and dogs just sitting around taking in the scenery and listening to the water rush over the gray limestone. Plenty of heads to turn my way just as I fell on my back and the Osprey dove underwater. Springing up quickly so that perhaps only a dozen people saw me, I gathered myself, pulled my cellphone out of my pocket and fished out my sunglasses before attempting to cross back over to my waiting bride. Lickity-split, there I was back in the water for a second time! Crawling back to safety, I assessed the damage and determined only my ego had been bruised. We headed back to the car, the squishing sound of water in my Oboz boots reminding me with every step that shit happens! You pick yourself up and hike on!

Map of Barton Creek Trail
Barton Creek Trail from 360 entrance to Sculpture Falls

If you go: Austin has lots of places to lose yourself in the woods inside a city. The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a great place to start. You won’t be lonely though, Austin people, their dogs and their mountain bikes spend a lot of time on these trails. You won’t see too many people in the water in March though! Hike on!