Friday, July 25, 2008

my favoritest, largest jewel

The kids and I spent one day this week at Barton Springs Pool. "The Crown Jewel of Austin," it takes the lion's share of credit for luring me to this awesome city.
Barton Springs is home to "Parthenia," the mother spring of four natural springs located in the heart of Austin.

It's also home to the Austin Blind Salamander, an endangered species found nowhere else on earth, and hence, the subject of quadrillions of editorial columns and letters to the editor. This teeny salamander is at the center of a raging struggle between land developers and Save Our Springs (SOS) activists.
Cute little bugger, isn't he?

The spring flows up from the ground in the area of the diving board. It pumps out an average of 31 million gallons per day, making for some clean, clear, chilly water - a steady 68 degrees year round. And when the air temps are above 100 degrees, it makes for a truly refreshing plunge. Otherwise, its just focking cold!
Here's DauA doing The Flying Squirrel, her approach dive to getting one with the last remaining salamanders.

And here are all three kids, setting off on a destiny of swimming from one end to the other, without stopping.

One lone swimmer makes it.

Even Robert Redford, who says he grew up swimming in Barton Springs, has jumped into the debate. He co-produced a documentary, The Unforseen. The trailer has a nice panoramic view of the Springs, and, more importantly, a sweeeet shot of Redford looking his environmental activist hottie best.

Ok, so after looking over this post, I gotta go back.


Blind Salamanders, make room!


Mama P said...

Oh my gosh! Barton Springs! Great photos and great memories! I lived in Austin the summer of my 28 year. ("My 28th year?" I'm only 38. Why that turn of phrase. Oh well.) My point: LOVED it there. Would walk the trails every day with my dog. So beautiful. And my best friend's dad's favorite memory? Going there at 6:am one winter morning to find 10 naked women doing their annual winter solstice swim routine. Fabulous, no? Thank you for posting those fabulous pictures of your kids and one of my favorite places.

Madge said...

Barton Springs looks wonderful! I hope they save it. It looks absolutely amazing.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Austin is the only place in Texas I've ever wanted to visit (sorry the rest of Texas). Now I want to go even more.

bluemountainsmary said...

It sounds delicious ESP. on a stinking hot day. What a treasure.

I think I want to visit Austin too!

phd in yogurtry said...

mama p - what trails, do you remember?

madge - me too, I hope it's always here.

jenn - it's the only place in tx I've ever wanted to live. I do love visiting San Antone.

mary - it makes the 100 degree heat tolerable, heck, enjoyable. I don't enjoy BS unless it's this hot.

e. beck said...

i could use a 68degree swim right now .... that looks gorgeous .... you are lucky to be close to something so fabulous ..... and fun ....

Daisy said...

Sounds fabulous! My daughter lives in Fredericksburg, and next jaunt we take out there, I'll make sure to add this wonderful spot to our itinerary!

phd in yogurtry said...

e - I am and I do (feel lucky).

daisy - FYI - its closed on Thursdays, for cleaning. I found this out on a Thursday. After arranging my summer work schedule so that I could take the kids there. On Thursdays. Also, it sometimes closes after a lot of rain. So always check before you drive in.

Stacie said...

I love it!!! How lucky are you guys?!? We just go to local pool and hope it doesn't rain...My kids would freak if they saw Barton Springs...they would become salamandars!

Mama P said...

The trails are when you exit and go left. I recall very simple pathways through trees with a river running on the left. If you look across the river, you can see some houses. I will post my photos one day from that awesome summer. Do you know what I'm talking about? The trail... not my summer. LOL.

Heather said...

Oh, oh, oh! I am so jealous that you have this so close! I got to go to Barton Springs once with a friend, and it was great!! Reading this made me wanna be in the hot summer sun and jump into the cool spring SO MUCH!

phd in yogurtry said...

stacie - my kids do love it. there are lots of different swimmy things to do - diving board, snorkel & look for fish, long walks, raft-lounging.

mamap - I was just wondering which trails, wondering if you made it out to Barton Creek Greenbelt.

I think you're referring to the Town Lake Hike n Bike Trails (now called Lady Bird Lake). Its such an excellent walk. I haven't been in awhile, just haven't gotten myself down there.

heather - it does make a lasting impression! I know when I first saw it I thought it was just the most amazing "swimming hole." I had been living in a culturally desolate, humid town with noplace beautiful to enjoy. I knew then it was Austin or Adios, Tejas.

Professor J said...

I do love Barton Springs--haven't been there in years.

Minnesota Matron said...

Makes the Matron consider a swing through the Lone Star State. . .