April 4, 2015 – Today started off with breakfast tacos (brisket, potatoes, eggs, and cheese) at Rudy’s. These things are incredibly good, and might be a new breakfast tradition. Our drive for the day took us past Austin and over to Balcones Canyonylands National Wildlife Refuge. We were on the lookout for some cool birds that can only be found there; we definitely heard them, chirping high up in the trees, but they remained elusive. We hiked most of the trails in the area, starting with one through a mini forest and ending at an overlook down into the valley. On the way back we took a detour to walk out to a rocky outcropping, also with a nice view of the valley and the budding trees.
This park isn’t very crowded, and provides a nice break from the hustle down in Austin. We would definitely come back here – just make sure to bring enough water, particularly if you’re here in the warmer months. They do have decent pit toilets though. 😉
We had some nice snacks for the trail, but we were more than ready for a late lunch. We chose the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, which is located in a neat little shopping/pedestrian area with lots of condos above the eclectic shops. It reminded us of some of the newer areas near Denver, CO. They also have a very nice (and free) parking garage, which made finding a spot to stash the car easy and convenient.
First up was pouring through the massive draft beer list and selecting one to try. For lunch, Tony got the mac n cheese and Louisa had a burger and fries. The drinks were very good, and the food was as well. The mac n cheese was particularly good, and the burger was juicy and cooked well. We eventually got a few more beers and decided we wanted more food, so we got the chips and queso with house made salsa. You can’t go wrong with salsa in TX.
After lunch we made our way back to a different section of Balcones Canyonlands NWR, and hiked up a scenic hill. The hill used to be a cow pasture, and the drinking troughs and road for farm equipment were still visible. We could see a few cars and one other house, but otherwise had the area to ourselves. Ourselves and a few hundred cedar waxwings that were in the trees on the way back to the car. The drive back to San Antonio was pleasant, and we stopped for dinner at Rudy’s. The moist brisket was on the fatty side, but still great. 🙂