Nothing like Fall in the hill country; the air dry but cool and the sun beating down on your back. October is probably my most favorite month in Austin, so I decided to spend my weekends visiting different areas of the Greenbelt off of 360. My favorite part about this area of Austin is the contrast between the brush and rocks and streams against the overpasses of the highway and the graffiti… a truly Austin place to hike during your free time. I prefer the days where the water is overflowing and the grounds are flooded and muddy… it leaves the normally bone dry terrain different, a fun new adventure!
The average temperature throughout the month when I visited was between 72 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with a nice refreshing breeze that cooled that back of my neck. The streams remained white and rocky with no sign of water, which made for an interesting trail throughout the greenbelt; I enjoyed walking in the middle, opposed to above in a trail overlooking the would be water.
It was a bit dangerous for my ankles though!
There was no life surrounding me, aside from the footsteps in the distance from my fellow hikers… even when sitting in complete silence for 15 minutes, the only thing to pass my location was a lizard. The leaves would crunch beneath my feet as I trudged on and provided the scenery with a rugged and worn look. The transition from summer to fall and then to winter is kind of sad to watch… the Earth just withers away and there is nothing that can be done about it, until spring at least 🙂
While walking the distance of the trail and observing all that surrounded me, I noticed a plethora of human produced garbage, whether it be a beer can or a smoothie cup. This image reminded me of a quote I read in A Sand County Almanac,
“That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.”
For such an active city, litter still damages the beauty of Austin where ever I go, which is disappointing to me and many other Austinites. It is our responsibility to keep our city clean if we want it to thrive; laziness will only ruin the future of places such as the greenbelt, Zilker park, etc.
When I noticed the trash the first thing I wonder was: whose fault is it? Should we blame the inherent selfishness of the people that pollute our green spaces? Or should we blame city planners who do not provide out door areas with ample trash cans? How much would that cost the city and would the benefits out weigh that price? I definitely do not have those answers but they are something worth studying.
I would like to end this post with a plea to my fellow toppers, friends, family members, and Austinites; please pick up after yourself. It takes the commitment of all of us to ensure a healthy Earth, and without everyones effort we may lose the places we so dearly treasure here in Austin… maybe not today, or tomorrow, but it will happen eventually unless something changes, and letting that happen would be awful and morally wrong.