Rowing at Town Lake, Austin

Follow me on Twitter. Add me as a friend on at Orkut or Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

Town Lake (also called Lady Bird Lake) in Austin is one of the Top 10 rowing water bodies in US. I was lucky that my first rowing experience is in this Lake. Wait a second – is it rowing or canoeing? Well, frankly it doesn’t really matter to me and shouldn’t matter to you either if you’re an amateur. There’s a 10 miles long hiking and biking trail along the Lake as well and thus, is a perfect place to spend a couple of hours a week while you’re at Austin.

The boat/canoe rentals were on the other side of the Lake, so had to cross this bridge. Here’s its sepia look:

Bridge over Lake Austin

Bridge over Lake Austin

The mild vibrations while standing on the bridge reminded me of LakshmanJhula in Rishikesh, though the vibrations are ‘visible’ in the latter’s case. It was enjoyable, not terrifying. The cool breeze, mild sun overhead, the view of lake on either side of the bridge and the sight of Austin Downtown building on the third side is a pleasant experience.

 

Lake Austin in an Overcast

Lake Austin in an Overcast

We were 4 guys – so rented two double boats. Rent was 15 USD per boat per hour. Being a first timer, I was off to a slow start and so even my not-so-amateurish partner couldn’t move ahead. The vessel moved absolutely in direction that we didn’t want it to go. As minutes passed, my rowing skills improved. We figured out that the best strategy to move fast and straight was – the rower in the back provides direction to the boat while the rower in the front ‘rows’; and after some time, vice versa.

 

Rowers

Rowers

Ducks, and birds of other categories as well, were having a good time – swimming, playing, surfing, flying low and eating insects/fish. In some areas, people were feeding the birds too.

 

Duck Tales

Duck Tales

The sight on both sides of the Lake was majestic, though the ‘point-and-shoot’ camera couldn’t do justice to the sight due to overcast sky. Several houses, surrounded by trees, lines the Lake periphery. Imagine sitting on your backyard listening to your iPod and gazing at the Lake from atop – priceless!

 

Woods Beside the Lake

Woods Beside the Lake

General Information: If you are new (or coming) to Austin and want to plan a visit to Town Lake for rowing,  canoeing, hiking, biking etc the following links will help you:

Note: All the pictures in this post are taken by Sankar Tejaswi (my co-passenger in the boat) and have been retouched by me using picnik.

Advertisements

Enchanting Mount Bonnell along Lake Austin

Follow me on Twitter. Add me as a friend on at Orkut or Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

Watching sunset on a clear sky evening is a bliss – be it on a beach, a coffee shop overlooking a lake or a hill top. A couple of weekends back, I had a chance to see the sunset from Mt. Bonnell.

Mount Bonnell is the highest peak of Austin. And, predictably, is a popular and free hangout for Austinites and tourists alike.  I found it a perfect place to spend couple of hours just sitting atop the rocks, overlooking Lake Austin and the Downtown. Also, this is one of the most romantic places you can find in Austin. Beat this – a couple sitting on a rock atop a hill overlooking a lake watching sunset, and without spending a penny!

About: There’s a short trail of .3 mile and 190 ft high (yeah, really short but enjoyable nevertheless). The place felt more like a tourist spot than a hiker’s paradise.  The trail begins at the stairs that leadup to the summit, and is marked by the waypoint “Trailhead” on the topo map. In early 1830s, a woman named Antonette jumped from this peak when Indians killed her fiance. In her memory, the place was called Antonette’s Leap then. Later, it got its current name from George W. Bonnell. Address – 3800 Mt. Bonnell Drive, Austin, TX 78731. Locate it on Google Maps.

There are 3 parts of Mt. Bonnell each with a distinct charming view:

Meandering Lake Austin

Meandering Lake Austin

At the first spot, you can see Lake Austin and houses built on each side. Boats wheezing along the Lake’s length, leaving a trail behind, is a worthy sight. The lakeside houses look pretty similar. Their backdoor opens up to the Lake. Just imagine – wake up in the morning, grab a cup of tea or cofee and sit on the porsche viewing the lake.

Sunset from Mt. Bonnell

Sunset from Mt. Bonnell

From the second spot you can see the sunset. Beyond the lake and over the horizon.  You can also see a Bridge and several towers (probably telecom ones) in a distance.

Lake side Dwellings

Lake side Dwellings

There’s a pavillon on the third spot, standing atop which you can have amazing view of the Austin Downtown. The pavilion, though, may be crowded at times – after all, who doesn’t want to see the sckyscrapers from such a far distance that they are even difficult to spot. However, there is a house just nearby on the hill that blocks off a part of the view. It is an eyesore for the visitors. But I’m sure the people in that hoise must be having an amazing view of Austin. Lucky folks!

In short, a must see place in the evening while you are in Austin.

Links

Websites: AustinExplorer, Austin City Guide,