Spring Break

There are two paths to take for spring break if you are planning to go somewhere.  Go see snow or go somewhere warm.  The thing about going somewhere warm is that most places in the USA aren’t warm enough in March if you want to be comfortable in shorts or swim, at least not for people who are used to hot weather.  Many of the major league baseball teams practice during the spring in Florida.  We are big Astros fans and went to Florida to see them play in a few practice games with other teams in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie.  The temperature didn’t get above 75 degrees, which is nice, I think you still need to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt.

I really wanted to see manatees.  They kind of look like a walrus and they don’t get out of the water.  They are slow moving and referred to as a sea cows.  This time of year they seek warm water.  There is a power plant on the inter coastal in West Palm Beach that uses the water for cooling and releases warm water that is clean and the manatees hang out in the warm water that is released from the plant, so it’s a good viewing area.  The power plant setup a really nice educational facility dedicated to manatees and surrounding marine life.  This is called Manatee Lagoon.

manatees

manatee

Not far from manatee lagoon is a man made island called Peanut Island.  You can take a ferry the short distance for $12 round trip, which you could actually swim, however it’s in a busy boat area.  The island is about 1 and 1/4 miles around with a very nice beach, picnic areas and mangroves.  It’s a great place to snorkel and you can even camp overnight with a permit.  The island was created in 1918 by dredging to create an ocean inlet and it created the port of Palm Beach.  Not long after the coast guard made it a station.  It’s called Peanut island because there were plans to use the island as a terminal for shipping peanut oil, however that never happened.  In 1961 President Kennedy had a secret bunker and shelter built.  In 1984 the island became a recreation spot.  Since then improvements have been made and now it’s a really attractive place to come spend some leisure time.

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I was really interested in the Kennedy Bunker.  We headed towards that area.  In August of last year they had a museum and tours, but they don’t anymore.  There are no trespassing signs posted.  Curiosity got the best of me, and we sort of ignored the signs.  There seems to be nobody there.  And it was exciting to try to find the bunker.  We did find it…

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Supposedly it’s 1200 square feet and can hold 30 people for 30 days.  I don’t know about that.  The Coast Guard house needs to be restored, it takes a beating from past hurricanes and tropical storms.

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The island itself is very scenic.  There are lots of beautiful places to explore.  I would love to kayak or paddle board around it….FUN!

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Spring Break

Hamilton Pool Dream Come True

Hamilton Pool is another Texas treasure!!!  This natural wonder is located just outside of Austin to the West.   You have to make reservations to go and there is no guarantee that you will be able to swim because of bacteria levels which are tested daily.  Reservations are from 9-1PM and 2PM-6PM.  This is my own opinion, but I think there are bats in the “grotto” and I would think that the unsafe bacteria specifically ecoli might have something to do with their poop.  That’s just a guess.   It’s worth the risk to make the 3 hour drive because you can still enjoy the view of this beauty which is quite spectacular.   And there are plenty of other things to do in the area. Determined to go, I made the reservations months ago.  Even if I had to go by myself. Fortunately, my mother-in-law, son, daughter and friend went with! Your reservation is by the carload and since we have smaller vehicles, it was worth it to rent a minivan.  I looked at this day trip as a mini vacation and treated it as such!  We were comfortable!

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We began the 1/4 mile rough terrain to the water.  It really is steep in some places and rocky, the rocks aren’t even.  There isn’t anything to hang on to.  People lug their coolers, chairs and floats regardless!  There is no wheelchair access, which makes me sad because for people with disabilities this would be a huge challenge to go see and some would never go.

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The vegetation kept the hot Texas sun away.  There are lots of mesquite trees and cypress as you get towards the water.  I’m standing on the “beach”  here taking my first picture. This is where we laid out some towels and I called it our base camp.  The beach is rocky crushed rock with good size stones.  Outside of the stunning beauty of the cave like curved roof with water gently falling into a clear green massive pool, I noticed these three very large catfish at the water’s edge.  They hung out there the entire time!  First things first, I wanted to explore!  You can walk in the cave all along it to the other side.

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I thought bats were coming out of the swallow nests, but they aren’t.  If you look closely, you can see the muddy nests with a hole in the middle on the ceiling.

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Here is a view of the beach from the other side…

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Sometimes the water that falls is quite massive, on a day like today, it was picture perfect for standing under.

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Under the waterfall is the rock where people jump in.  I swam around the pool.  At first I thought it was going to be freezing because the water temperatures are in the 60s year round.  It was cold at first, you quickly get used to it.  Even though the water looks clear along the edges, it isn’t as it gets deeper.  Still it’s a very pretty green.  Looking up at the water falling is pretty cool as you see the droplets take the plunge.  I could have spent the day here, however my crew is not the chilling type.  At least not here.  I’m guessing it’s because there is no cellular service.

The idea was to eat here, bringing in food.  However, for this group it was a better idea to go out to lunch/dinner.  We ended up going to Canyon Grill which is on lake Travis.  We had another amazing view and great food!  Fantastic day ! ❤

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Hamilton Pool Dream Come True