McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park was a fun little place that I had no idea existed! My mom, who is always on the hunt for great photo opportunities, wanted to take pictures of waterfalls here in Texas. We found this little gem in Austin Texas, which is about 160 miles west of Houston and 90 miles north of San Antonio.

Onion creek flows through this park with the Upper Falls closer to the park entrance and Lower Falls a tad bit further down the road.  It has not rained much in Texas over the past few months so the Lower Falls were a bit skimpy and the Upper Falls were non-existent.

The Lower Falls were very easy to find. In fact the entire park was easy to navigate and the park rangers were extremely helpful.

The creek was a bit slow which made it great for families with little toddlers to get their toes wet.  I took my shoes off to walk in the ankle-deep water.

Converse 1Creek toes

The water was nice and warm but I would suggest wearing water shoes or  sandals with good grips.

Many kids were jumping off of the limestone rocks into the pool below. There are lots of people on the shore and on top of the rocks but I tried to miss them with my camera. People were really enjoying themselves while lounging in tubes, pool noodles and some were picnicking on the shore.

Falls Lower 1

Falls Lower 2.jpg

Lower Falls 3.jpg

One thing that disappointed me was the amount of garbage that was caught in the rocks. A lot of this is washed in from the creek but still, I imagine some trash gets away from the picnic areas further up the creek. This trash was lodged here and it did not seem to float into the pool where the kids were swimming.

Lower falls trash.jpg

Onion creek 2dragon flyOnion Creek

I was unable to get any really good photos of the Upper Falls because it was so dry. There was a pool of water and a small cave where people were swimming and hanging out. This looked like the most popular spot. I showed these photos to my kids and they wanted to pay a visit. We will be going back very soon!

If you’re looking for a small park that has water fun, hiking, camping and biking this is a good place to go.

For more information on visiting the park here is the link.

Road Trip To Arizona

RoadTrip Cover Photo

As part of reaching my goal to visit every state in the U.S, I planned a Road Trip with my mom and sister. Unfortunately, my sister was not able to make it which created a noticeable absence. I have several friends who live in Arizona and they moved their schedules to prepare to see me so I did not want to reschedule.

We live in Texas and as Southeast as it gets! Driving towards Arizona was a big deal. The total drive according to Google would take 16 hours with 10 of those hours being used to get out of Texas!


EL PASO, TEXAS

Our plan was to drive through to El Paso and stay the night there. My father was in the Army when I was a youngster and we lived in El Paso at one point. I wanted to visit my old elementary school and apartment where we lived. Can you believe I remembered it? Well, yeah I did.

Old elem
Elementary school in El Paso I attended in Kindergarten

Having the opportunity to visit our old apartment was a blast from the past. I remember playing outside in the dust since there was no grass. You can see from the picture below that grass was just non-existent. Fun fact is we lived in El Paso the year it had this crazy amount of snow dumped on it. We went from desert to winter wonderland over night!

El paso Apt
Apartment complex we lived in

Enough about El Paso and on to the reason for the trip. Along the way we saw desert and Mountains. There was no way I was making a trip to Arizona without visiting Tombstone, the site of the famous gun fight at the O.K. Corral. By the way, I can quote the Tombstone movie word for word but never mind that 🙂


TOMBSTONE, ARIZONA

Tombstone is very hot, dusty and dry. The people were nice and some were dressed up to mimic the old way of dress. Here are some photos of Tombstone.

city hall
Old Tombstone City Hall
GUnfight
Site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. In 1881 the Earp brothers faced off against the Clanton-Mclaury gang in this legendary shootout.
Big nose kate
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon was originally called The Grand Hotel. Kate was Doc Holiday’s common-law wife.
Bird cage(1)
Reported by the NY Times back in 1882 to be “the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and Barbary Coast.” NOW that’s a serious reputation!
Birdcage inside
Bird Cage Entrance
Wells fargo
Old Wells Fargo bank

NEW MEXICO

We did not stop at any notable places in New Mexico but I did get this really nice shot of the rising sun. We also crossed the Continental Divide which was a cool check-in for Facebook.

New Mexico
Sunrise over the Mountains in New Mexico

THE GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA

On to one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen in person! We stayed in Mesa Arizona but I did not get any pictures. It was a three and a half hour drive to The Grand Canyon but the scenery made the drive worth it. I tried to capture the beauty and majesty of the canyon but you just have to be there to appreciate it.

A few tips when visiting the Canyon even if you do not think you will hike. Take plenty of water, even if it is not hot. The elevation at 7,000 feet will take a toll on your body. Also, pack some sustainable snacks such as jerky and trail mix. Do not feed the wild animals. We saw Elk and Ravens on our trip but you can see squirrels, mountain lions and California Condors.

I have a crazy amount of photos from the Canyon but these are the ones I feel will give you a sense of just how beautiful it really is. Let me get on and show you the pictures!

Canyon 2
The Grand Canyon
Canyon Colorado
The Colorado River
canyon script
View from the Desert View Watchtower
Canyon shoes
Resting my toes for a bit 🙂
Canyon
Beautiful shot
Me Canyon
Sitting on top of Split Rock with the Colorado River behind me
me side canyon
Side of the Canyon
MountainPeak
Humphrey Peak as part of the San Francisco Mountains. This was on the way up to the canyon.
Watchtowe
Mary Colton’s Desert View Watchtower

The Grand Canyon was place I will never forget. I am so happy I was able to see it in person and take pictures for memories.

The trip back to Texas was driven all at once starting at 9 am on a Sunday. We arrived in home 20 hours later!! It was an unforgettable time and I hope to bring the kids when they are a bit older. I have officially updated the Life List.

Have you been to the Grand Canyon or Tombstone? If so what was your experience.

Looking For Something That Is Not Lost

Today the kids and I went Geocaching. Geocaching is the recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website.  This activity was part of my life list and I can now update the date!

edited-geo-slpark
Before hunting for the hidden objects.

The first search was conducted at a park near our home.  We used my phone in order to find the coordinates of the hidden object.

It was hard to know what to look for but the description and hints were  extremely helpful. Be sure to read up on Geocaching etiquette and terms.

Edited-Geo-SL.jpg
Success! The first object we found.

We moved to our second location to a business park further down the road and found this one in a muddy field. Our shoes and socks got wet but the kids had fun getting messy.

Edited-Geo-Staff.jpg
The second object we found.

We had so much fun looking for these that we plan on hunting for more in the coming weeks. I will be taking a vacation soon so I plan on looking for more objects where I will be headed.

Have you tried Geocaching? If so what was your experience?

An Unexpected Trip To The Texas Capitol

We took the kids on a day trip to visit a little place where we love to get pecans. It is about 20 miles from Austin.  We live about two hours from Austin so it was not an entirely long trip but with three kids in the car they can get fidgety. I will say this, the kids did not appreciate my 80s/90s karaoke session!

While visiting Berdoll, we stopped at the 14 foot squirrel and snapped a photo. It was a lot of fun and the now the kids can tell people they have seen a 14 foot squirrel!

Squirell.jpg
Friendly little fellow!

Once we finished with our pecan trip, the kids suggested we keep driving to Austin in order to see the Texas State Capitol. The husband and I thought it was a great idea. I more so because it is on my Life List!

capitol front.jpg
It was a great trip and the kids go to experience Texas history. Homeschoolers never stop learning!

Here are a few pics inside the Capitol.

We had a great time and finished it off with some great Texas BBQ! I consider this trip a success and can update the Life List Page!