Autumn rarely sets our trees aflame here in central Texas, and this year’s fall color looks to be more of a dud than usual. But still, you can find a few russet tinges if you squint, especially in the coppery needles of bald cypresses around Lady Bird Lake.
My family and I walked the 3-mile loop between MoPac and the Pfluger Bridge over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Well, they ran and I meandered with Cosmo, taking lots of photos along the way. I love walking here when the weather cools off.
On this gray day, it wasn’t very crowded, which was nice.
Virginia creeper climbing a bald cypress is putting on a mini fall show of its own.
Bald cypress roots, drinking deeply
The cypresses line the hike-and-bike trail like a giant’s hallway.
Yes, I will apparently even take photos of a public restroom if the design is interesting.
The Trail Foundation has really upped its game in the design of public toilets along the trail.
The Heron Creek restrooms, designed by Mell Lawrence Architects, look like monk cowls made of raw steel and board-formed concrete.
Turtles! I’m familiar with the red-eared slider, perching below the other two. But what kind of turtle is at the top of the branch? A soft-shell?
Almost at the turning point: the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge
A spiral ramp leads up to the bridge on the north side of the lake, but let’s pause in the Pfluger Circle, designed by Austin’s own Christy Ten Eyck, before we go up. With limestone-block benches around the circle, surrounded by Anacacho orchid trees, palmettos, and other native plants, it functions like a large council ring, one of my favorite design motifs.
Here’s a nice article about council rings, although — surprise! — the author used one of my photos without asking or even linking back to my site, which I wish people wouldn’t do. Respecting copyright (is it yours? If not, ask before using) is easy to do — and the right thing to do.
My rant over, let’s go up the ramp cloaked in fig ivy. Yes, it does seem as if we’re walking backwards, doesn’t it?
Looking down on the circle from the top of the ramp
My daughter is checking her phone down there.
A wider view captures a glimpse of the state capitol in the distance.
Beachy, curvy, wooden side-walls line a portion of the bridge.
Along the main part of the bridge, steel rails allow for views of the water.
Graffiti on the train bridge: Ninja Style Kung Fu Grip, reads one, which I’m sure the guy needed as he hung from the bridge to spray-paint. Never Give Up, reads another with Pac-Man outrunning killer ghosts.
Greening up the bridge are several raised garden beds maintained by volunteers. A couple were a bit anemic, but this one totally rocked.
Well done, Joan McGaffigan!
Back on the trail on the south side of the lake, this bench offers a nice overlook of the historic Lamar Boulevard Bridge — and an Austin-style re-creation of the bridge scene from Manhattan.
Where the trail diverts along Barton Creek for half a mile or so, I stopped on the wooden pedestrian bridge to watch kayakers…
Looks like fun
A little more fall color
And more orangey bald cypress
I sat in this spot for a little while, admiring the turquoise water of spring-fed Barton Creek and the orange needles and knobby “knees” of a solitary bald cypress.
Kayakers paddled up the creek…
…and, after a bit, paddled back toward the lake.
Nearby, the steel gazebo at Lou Neff Point offers a nice vista of downtown…
…between the trees.
Firecracker fern was still in full bloom, with a sulphur butterfly nectaring there.
Check out those yellow eyes!
Yuccas, agaves, and native flowering perennials and trees grow in terraced beds on the hillside here.
Beautiful yuccas, like exploding fireworks
Regular trail denizen Woode Wood was serenading passers-by.
A little gold adds to the subtle fall color along the trail.
Near the end of my loop, as I crossed the MoPac Pedestrian Bridge, I noticed that an old Live a Great Story sticker continues to hang on. I took a similar picture of this sticker, with a paddleboarder below, a couple of years ago, when we were having a much more colorful autumn (click for the fall glory).
Downtown beyond the trees
Yes, Austin is pretty wonderful!
I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events
Want to know how I got started as a garden writer? Read page 16 of On the QT, the newsletter for GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators. I’m honored to be featured in an article by Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens!
Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!
What’s hot in garden design — or about to be? I interviewed designers and retailers across the U.S. to find out! Natural dye gardens, hyperlocalism, dwarf shrubs, haute houseplants, sustainability tech, color blocking, and more — check out my 2017 Trends article for Garden Design and see if anything surprises you.
All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.