When I first discovered Mt. Bonnell in Austin it was by accident. I’m not sure 1) how I got there and 2) how I had never heard of it prior to getting there. My family and I had lived here for five months when we went for a drive in the west Austin neighborhood that led us through beautiful winding roads up to the highest point in Austin. It was the cars parked along the road and the throng of people pouring out of them that clued us in to the fact that we had stumbled upon something. I was nine months pregnant at the time–two weeks shy of my due date–but I was up for an adventure. We lagged behind a group of quasi-hikers and followed the dusty path until we came upon it–a bird’s eye view of the bright blue waters of Lake Austin with the 360 bridge off in the distance.
After this discovery of Mt. Bonnell, one of my first thoughts was returning for a picnic. I’m always romanticizing picnics in my head and looking for the perfect spot to have one. Although I’ve been back to Mt. Bonnell, showing off Austin’s best view to out-of-town visitors, the trips never included that picnic I had dreamed about…until last week. In the spirit of Mother’s Day–and taking into consideration the fact that my husband will be out of town on the actual Mother’s Day–we packed a picnic and the kids in the car and headed to Mt. Bonnell to enjoy a family dinner in the open air.
We arrived before sunset and found an empty table where we could plop ourselves down. I’m sure it gets more crowded later in the evening, so I planned accordingly. Besides, with three little ones under five you never know what’s going to happen when you find yourself out past sunset anyway. Our modest picnic was a hit with the kids (I think it’s the cookies we planted for dessert) but that didn’t stop our son from rushing through his meal to hike up the rocky dirt path and explore. In addition to the path, you can also reach the zenith by way of a long stone staircase. Our son counted 93 steps, but he’s four so that number may not be entirely accurate. Whether you choose the path or the stairs, the hike is short enough for kids to manage (our two year-old daughter had no problem) yet long enough to wear them out.
Hiking Mt. Bonnell is one of my favorite Austin activities that will never lose its allure. I suggest if you go, though, you wear better shoes than I did on our picnic evening.
About Sarah W: Mom, blogger, coffee maker, chauffeur, housekeeper, event planner, team photographer. To read more about how I make it through the day with a traveling husband and three toddlers visit The Sassy Shack.