We have had a busy weekend at home in Austin!
On Saturday morning we volunteered as part of National Trails Day in Austin. There were about 25 different projects to choose from! We chose to do trail work on the Shoal Creek trail near the 5th street bridge in downtown Austin. About 15 volunteers showed up at 9am with shovels and wheelbarrows to bridge the gap in the trail just south of the 5th street bridge by removing silt and gravel from the trail surface and improving water flow both up-river and down-river of the trail. Most of the volunteers seemed to already know each other, and many had worked on this same project during the 2013 National Trails Day. We started by clearing rocks and silt from the path, but eventually moved to improve water flow down-river from the trail crossing. Improving the water flow allowed less water to pool on the trail, making it easier for hikers and bikers to cross the river.
Trail work proved to be extremely tiring, as heaving rocks and water was strenuous. At least our work site was mainly in the shade, and it certainly provided a great workout. Katie had invited a lot of people that she knows through UT’s outdoor recreation program, but no one ended up joining us. 🙁
Just before noon we packed all of the gear up, and headed to the post-work picnic at Zilker Park. Freebird’s donated plenty of steak, chicken, and veggie burritos, REI donated shirts, Austin Parks Foundation donated shirts, and Guns and Oil Brewing Company donated beer. We found a spot in the shade to sit, and genuinely enjoyed the picnic. We talked to the CEO of American Youthworks about the Texas Conservation Corps, as there were probably 40 young adults wearing Texas Conservation Corps shirts at the picnic. Apparently most of the young adults were recent college graduates who were working full-time for at least 6 months on various conservation and disaster recovery service projects mainly around Texas. It seems like a pretty cool program!
On Sunday we attended the summer X Games at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. Upon arrival we went to watch the BMX Park finals starting at 11am. It was amazing to see some of the runs – between the high flying jumps and technical moves, it was awesome. Each contestant is given two runs in the first round and three runs if they make the finals – and only the best run from each round counts – so the contestants are often-times going all out to stick all their moves in their 50 second run. Next we watched the women’s skateboarding street finals, which were abbreviated to just the first round due to a rain delay – which meant that each contestant only had two runs. Some of the women seemed to have trouble with the slightly damp track, but the top couple women certainly had solid performances. After the women’s skateboarding street final concluded, we decided to go listen to Paris Blohm‘s 2:30pm set. We were told we had to leave the park/street grandstand to enter the EDM Lounge, but then we were held outside the venue for about a hour since the event staff and police claimed the venue (ie, grandstand and connected EDM Lounge) was at capacity. We listened to Paris’ entire set over a loudspeaker, but it was sad that his actual audience was only about 30 people (since based on accounts the EDM Lounge was not even close to being full). Katie eventually had to go find a porta-potty, and of course that was when JT finally got pushed into the grandstand. JT snuck Katie in once she returned, as many people were still stuck outside the grandstand due to it being ‘at capacity’. Yet eventually they decided to let many more people in, so apparently they eventually decided it was acceptable to be over capacity?
We sat in the upper left corner for the grandstand for the men’s skateboarding street final. We could actually see the course better from up high than we had from much closer during the women’s final – but our view was often blocked by people standing in the entry portal near the stairs. Many of the men put on great shows, and some of their moves were downright amazing.
Getting to attend the X Games was pretty awesome. Katie remembers watching some of the first X Games as a kid (this was their 20th anniversary), so it was neat to actually see them in person. Tickets were expensive, but it was a neat experience.