28 New Things: Swim in Barton Springs!

3 Sep

Austin is hot. Like, hot, hot. Dripping sweat constantly hot. Legs sticking to every single chair hot. Perpetually triple digits during the day and gets down to the high 80’s at night…if you’re lucky hot. But you know what we have to beat the heat?

Swimming! Everywhere!

I’ve never lived in a city that celebrates its natural and man made swimming holes and pools as much as Austin does. And one of the most well known swimming areas? Barton Springs.

Barton Springs #2

I’ve actually been to Barton Springs twice now, and both times failed to take photos! Let me assure you, it is awesome, even if I’m way too busy frolicking in the water to take photos. So, thank you internet, for providing some photos for this post.

Barton Springs is a pool that uses natural spring water. This means that while you have a diving board and ladders and other regular pool items, you also have a huge amount of lake weeds growing in it and the endangered Barton Springs Salamanders living there (though I have yet to see one).

Barton Springs at Sunset

The water is COLD. Oh sweet, refreshing cold water, how I love thee. Both times I’ve been, it’s been at night. The stars are out, the air is balmy, and the water is fine. The second I time I went was last night, a full moon night. What do you do on a full moon night in a city as happily, unself-consciously  weird as Austin? You go to Barton Springs, decide if you want to wear a bathing suit or go nude, and then you howl at the moon. Over and over and over again. Yep. That’s what people do. I decided I WOULD wear the bathing suit thankyouverymuch, but I still enjoyed my howling experience. Floating on my back, watching the full moon go in and out of clouds and howling at the top of my lungs was maybe one of the strangest yet most liberating experiences of my life. Austin, you’re the weirdest, but I think I’m a little bit smitten with you. Really.

And if you want to get a good feel for what it’s like, here’s a pretty accurate video from Austin’s NPR station:


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