Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Weekend Escapes

For Mother's Day weekend, we escaped to Canyon of the Eagles, a park on Lake Buchanan, about 1.5 hours northwest of Austin. On Friday we joined a homeschool group of friends for a four hour kayaking trip. Then we stayed on by ourselves at the Lodge.

The first night was exciting. After dinner we watched from a cliff across the lake as lighting played, debating whether there was any possibility of seeing stars at the park observatory a few hours later. Keenan opined that the storms were not heading our way. Tucked back in our room a few minutes later, the sky opened up...with hail. Standing in the cottage breezeway, with rooms two and two on either side, ice on the metal roof necessitated fingers in ears. The hail continued for what seemed a long time, graduating from dime size to quarter size and back, bouncing crazily off the roof, trees, and hilly ground. Eventually it stopped and people sprinted to the distant parking lot to check vehicles for divots (yep!). BTW, we did look through the telescopes to see the rings and moons of Saturn, craters along the terminator on the moon, and a binary star.

Early Saturday morning Keenan and I left the teen sleeping and went for a hike along the Bird and Butterfly Trail. Cool and overcast skies prompted a lot of wildlife to stir. We got good at sighting the many painted buntings (sorry, none of the photos are really good enough) that are red, blue and yellow. There were many cardinals, lots of bunnies that let us get close, vultures watching from high points, digging evidence of armadillos along the side of the trail, and a surprise appearance by a most unusual fellow.

Yes, that's a skunk. Or at least a reverse skunk -- mostly white. I wish there were a better photo, but hey, we didn't want to get TOO close! S/he was totally unconcerned by us, mosying along through a huge field of blooming prickly pear cactus.