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Hammock season is in full bloom, which means discovering the state parks in my own backyard! First stop– Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City, Texas.  Located amongst the forever rolling hills and watering holes an hour outside the city of Austin, this makes an excellent destination to disconnect from the rat race of modern life, and reconnect with the timeless natural beauty in our midst.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Hammock perch at the water’s edge.

This is what I keep reminding myself. As I’m constantly overcome with the bustling city life, job hunting, and socializing in my mid-late twenties, I begin to loose sight of the reasons I chose to live in this region. After traveling long and far to different countries and states, I’m ready to settle in a bit and awaken to what Texas has to offer…which is a hell of a lot.

The Falls

At Pedernales, the falls themselves are prohibited to swim in. I really appreciate that, because although the serene blue water is beyond tempting to cool off in, it’s preserving the picturesque beauty. So instead, it’s an opportunity to get your legs accustom to hopping along the rugged escarpments, and feeling incredibly small amidst the vast, desolate terrain. Nothing beats the views of water cascading down stair steps of 300 million year old river limestone. If these rocks could talk….

Pedernales Falls State Park-7

My water bottle alongside stacked river rocks.

The Water

Further downstream, you drive down the road to reach the access point of the swimming zone. As part of the Pedernales River, the lowering escarpments create a fuller body of water, perfect for catapulting in via rope swing, or wading in the gentle rapids. Stacking river rocks and letting the little fishes kiss your knees are just some of the ways to connect yourself with the glorious surroundings.

Pedernales Falls State Park-3

Reasons to Return

The state park has a number of diverse activities for all ages and stages. This trip my friends and I decided to relax in the water to get some relief from the Texas heat, but next time I go I hope to take advantage of the hiking and camping Pedernales Falls has to offer. You can go tubing, kayaking, primitive camping, mountain biking, and the list goes on.

Disconnect to Reconnect

Discover your own backyard. If you’re in Texas, I suggest downloading the Texas State Parks app on your phone, you can view a clear map of the 95 state parks and see what’s near your home. The resources are endless, and everyone that works for state parks are generally happy people.

With 95 parks to choose from (and that’s not including county parks) there is no reason you shouldn’t go outside, no matter where you are. I encourage you to break up the monotony of everyday life, shake things up a bit, and go somewhere you have never been. The hesitancy is a normal sensation our body signals as an alert when the unknown confronts us, but I promise you will come out the other side refreshed and with a newly gained perspective of your present environment.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Photography by @rmagsino

Everyday, Begin Again

Now as I start an 8-5 job, I’m committed to go outside and discover some place new every weekend. Maybe you can join me, or maybe you can start your own commitment. I’m on a quest to get acquainted with loosing myself, getting present with the tool nature provides, and returning to my life revitalized. I think of going outside and laying in my hammock as a recharge to my battery. Everybody’s charger looks different. How can you get yourself to 100 percent?

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