Today Max read something online about a lush creek near where I’m staying, so we decided to go do some free swimming. Austin is beset with glorious swimming holes, but the most famous, Barton Springs, charges admittance.
When we arrived, we discovered the creek had long since dried up, evidenced by some sapling trees sprouting among the white rocks in the creek bed. It appeared Max had been misled by some old information.
We soldiered on, hiking down the creek bed and admiring tiny lizards with bright blue bellies. Max spotted a very large, dead snake and a few hearty little turtles paddling around in a tepid puddle. I was still hopeful that we’d come to a body of running water, teased continuously by the sound of burbling in the distance. Eventually we did find an anemic stream, and hiked alongside it until we reached, sadly, a sewer opening. On the way back we scrambled up the imposing white cliff that borders the creek bed, here and there stumbling across some sweeping vistas.
After our parched hike, we still wanted desperately to swim. So we decided to eat the $3 entrance fee and go to Barton Springs. On the way, I spotted JuiceLand, a hippie juice bar near our destination swimming hole. Craving fruity refreshment, I hooted with joy and turned sharply onto the steep hill that led to the parking lot. I swiftly had in my hands a juice called the Moderator, made from apples, beets, and ginger. It cost nearly $5 for a small juice. I went crazy and spent an additional $10 on kale and quinoa salads. I am the most prone to overspending in kitschy little health food places. “These vegetables will make me more attractive,” I always think. The juice was amazing, and I think maybe I did look a little more lustrous afterward.
Juiced up, we headed over to Barton Springs, home of the one and only Barton Springs Salamander, found nowhere else in the world. The slope next to the creek was crowded with late afternoon sun-bathers. One woman, near the outskirts, brazenly sunned her bare bosom.
The water at Barton Springs is clear, but looks bluish green because of the reflection of the sky and the thick plant growth on the large rocks at the bottom of the pool. It was perfectly sunny, but not quite hot enough to make the cold, cold water appealing to everyone. I swam just about the length of the gigantic pool to ensure exhaustion, so I wouldn’t stay awake at night worrying about the as of yet unsettled details surrounding changing addresses and obtaining steady employment.
Max found a $10 bill on the ground when we left. We used it toward the purchase of raspberry popsicles on the way home.
At my new house later that night, as I contemplated unpacking, I got to listen to my roommate host band practice. My roommate and his band mates are excellent musicians, comprising a band called the EarthTone Players. Mike, my roommate band member, told me that they’re playing Saturday at the Gypsy Lounge, a venue I haven’t visited yet.
Until then I’m going to stay home, save money, and live off beans.