We had a very busy Sunday lined up for ourselves. The main goal was to get out and see the Hamilton Pool Preserve. We also wanted to get a really tasty lunch out somewhere, then later in the evening, we had plans to meet some friends for dinner. We covered a lot of miles, but the day was full of good food, great scenery, and friends.
Hamilton Pool Preserve is located about 23 miles west of Austin, and about 50 miles from where in were staying in San Marcos, TX. Since the 1960s, it has been a popular swimming spot for Austin visitors and residents. Of course, it was too cold for swimming in early January when we were there, but we thought it would still be a cool spot to check out.
On our way there, we stopped at in Driftwood, TX at Salt Lick BBQ for lunch. Mike had eaten there before on a business trip and remembered it as being some of the best barbecue that he had ever eaten. The place was huge with lots of outdoor seating that would have been nice on a warmer afternoon. There was plenty space inside too at long, picnic table style benches.
We found and spot to sit and ordered our plate of meat. I got a half a chicken with a jalapeño barbecue, and I think Mike got the brisket. Both meals came with all the sides and fixins. It was way more food than one person could eat, and it was all really tasty!
Then, we continued on to the Hamilton Pool Preserve. The entry fee was $15 per vehicle. I thought the price was a bit steep, especially since it was winter and you couldn’t swim and part of the path around the pool was closed off due to falling icicles.
We parked and took the short hike down the hill. Once we got down the hill, it was another quarter mile to the pool. There was a surprising amount of people there for the chilly January day. Apparently, it is so busy in the summer that you have to make reservations ahead of time!
The pool was an interesting green color. Usually there is water falling from all around the half circle overhang above. When we were there, some water was falling but much of it had turned to icicles. I was kind of bummed at the time because I had seen beautiful photos of pictures taken from behind the waterfalls, and as I mentioned, that part of path was closed off due to falling icicles. However, we later learned that it is rare is see the Hamilton Pool with icicles hanging all around, so I’m glad that we got to witness it. I would still love to see the area in the summer.
We hung around the pool for a while taking it in and snapping photos. Even though it was a cold enough that we had to wear our coats, the sun was warm, and it was nice to be outside.
Next, we ventured down the trail the opposite way from the pool. It was less than a mile to the Pedernales River. At this point, the barbecue was not setting right in my stomach, making the hike seem much longer than it was.
We made it to the river, which was a beautiful view, but all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball! By the time we made it back to the truck, Mike was starting to feel that way too.
Luckily, the sick feelings passed fairly quickly, because we had one more stop to make before we went home. Some friends from St. Louis, Jeff and Alla, now live in Austin, and we were meeting them for dinner downtown. They choose the Russian House on Fifth Street, which was great since it was a place that we probably wouldn’t have found on our own.
Alla was born and raised in Russia, so she helped us choose what was good to eat. In true Russian form, every meal came with a complimentary Vodka shot! The food was delicious, and it was good to catch up with friends.
We were exhausted after such an active day, and the 40 minute drive home seemed to last forever. Once we finally settled in for the night, we were able to reflect and be thankful for everything we had experienced.