Some friends and I had an excursion out to Texas Hill Country. We camped at Inks Lake State Park, visited Longhorn Caverns, and a winery (with a promise of winery cats...).
A couple of friends and I went out earlier on the first day (we will call this Team Alpha) to select a good camp site and set up the tents prior to nightfall. While exploring the park, we found a shaved ice stand.
The sunset over Inks Lake was rather peaceful compared to the daily hustle and bustle back in Houston.
The golden hour was so nice out there, I could not help but take some macro shots before it was too dark.
The state flower is the blue bonnet. In spring, the hills in central Texas are covered in both these and Indian paintbrushes. The roadside along 290 was covered in blue bonnets as well as people pulled over, squatting over the flowers taking selfies.
Texas Blue Bonnet
As night fell, Team Alpha played a few rounds of Texas Hold 'Em, using shells as chips, as we waited for Team Beta to arrive.
Take all my shells.
The next day, we took the shorter walking tour through Longhorn Cavern. This cavern was formed by an underground river with a lot of very interesting wear in the sandstone. I would like to do the "wild" cave tour on my next visit that involves knee and elbow pads, headlamps, and a lot of mud.
After the cavern, we had a long lunch at the campsite and got lost looking for a winery down a dirt road. We then hit the water in canoes and I tried my darnedest to ram the others as much as possible.
While hanging out on the fishing dock, I noticed that mayflies were molting all around us. Here is a series of photos of one particular mayfly...
The last morning we were out there, I woke up prior to dawn (no alarm!) and headed down to the lake for some sunrise experiments. Unfortuantely, it did not go well... I fit in an attempt at a panoramic, then had the 2 minute bathroom warning. Admittedly, I had a hard time deciding whether to pack everything up or leave it there. Luckily, my kit is light, so I packed and made haste to the closest bathroom. By the time I got back, it was too bright for me to take the longer exposure images I was hoping of the water prior to sunrise. The colors were still quite nice and it was really nice to listen to the other campers wake up and busy themselves with breakfast/packing up.
Inks Lake waking up
The trip was a much needed break from work. It was really quite refreshing to spend an extended period of time with non-engineers. It made me realize that work-life balance also includes a balance of my social interactions.