I’ve been spending a ton of time out at Bull Creek the past couple of weeks. I’ve led two hikes, spent some time out there by myself the past few days, and led a run just yesterday. And I’ve yet to find network of trails that has more character than here. It’s as if each part of the trail system has its own set of stories and no matter where you go you end up getting into some high jinks. I’ll list a few of mine below:
Near Forest Ridge and the Climb of Terror:
A couple of Fridays ago, I was out hiking with a friend near Forest Ridge, and she suggested that we climb the ledges near Forest Ridge. I’m not sure if y’all have been there, but near the big waterfall and Forest Ridge there are these washes that pretty much count as 3rd class climbing with a little exposure, and they’re maybe 30 feet high. For a person who is an admitted wuss when it comes to heights, these climbs were something out of my nightmares.
Each rock that crumbled suddently under my fingers or smooth rock that made my toes slip caused my life to flash before my eyes. The only thing that kept me going was the prospect of impressing my friend with how cool and brave I was, a goal that was possibly undermined by the fact that I shrieked, “Agh!” every time I looked down. Overall I consider the hike a positive experience, but those particular moments got me shaking.
Opposite these falls lies a Forest Ridge of Fear…
Up in the Hills: Unexpected Twists and Turns
I’ve spent most of my time at Bull Creek up in the hills, wandering around and getting myself lost in the endless switchbacks and turns. I have too many stories to count from my time running up there, everything from stories of falling on the steep downhills (I still have scars from some nasty falls), or the time I got hopelessly lost in the dark miles away from the car with my brother’s dog and we both ran through a patch of poison oak, or even the time that I ran with the Bull Creek group on Sunday mere hours after getting back from my best friend’s bachlorette party the previous night (I still made it through the whole run!)
The great thing about the hills above Bull Creek is that, just as there are myriad twists and turns on those paths, there are endless stories to be found the more you run up there.
Along the Creek: One of the Weirdest Places in Weird Austin
I’ve already written a little bit about the creekside trails of Bull Creek (here’s the link to my story) But one of the things I love most about the trails down along the creek is the varying terrain, from arid slab limestone sections, to hanging gardens, and stretches that look like you’re in the middle of a jungle. There’s also a good chance of seeing bunnies, and on one hike I saw some yellow bellied birds that I haven’t yet been able to identify (if any of y’all know the species of bird that nests in the hanging gardens around bull creek, respond and let me know!).
Probably the best thing about these creek trails, however, is the carefree people that visit there. I’ve seen everything from pot-smoking bohemians, to overtly romantic (and sometimes disrobed!) young adults, to people who have dragged their giant grill down a 45 degree slope to cook outdoors. If you spend a long enough time hanging around Bull Creek, you’ll see some of the best and weirdest parts of Austin.
So my question for y’all is: What are y’all’s stories of Bull Creek? I look forward to your emails and comments.