We did this for the first time a year ago, so it's time for another hike! Bright Leaf Preserve is a beautiful privately-held park, over 200 acres, near Mt. Bonnell on the west side. It's only open to guided hikes, and one of the VNA directors, Nancy Woolley, has arranged to host one for us. There is no charge, but the hike is limited to 20 people.
Bright Leaf Preserve is a great place to see the geology that makes our area on the edge of the Hill Country so interesting. It's also full of beautiful plants, flowers and wildlife, including some rare species, and is almost always great for birdwatching.
The hike is about four miles in a loop, and should last about two-and-a-half hours. After the hike, we'll all head over to Austin Java in Tarrytown for lunch. That one's set up as as separate meetup, which you can find here: http://www.meetup.com/vegnetaustin/events/123068602/
Please keep these important points in mind:
-Even though we've scheduled it early, it will get hot, so please dress accordingly and wear GOOD shoes, and even more importantly, BRING WATER.
-No dogs are allowed, and no biking.
-Make sure you don't leave anything behind; we want the park as clean when we're done as it was when we arrived.
-PLEASE arrive on time! After the party leaves on the hike, you will not be able to "catch up" to join them, as no one is allowed on the trail without the guide. Similarly, you must plan to stay for the whole hike, as you cannot leave the hike early and go ahead of the guide.
-One more time... BRING WATER.
More information and photos at www.brightleaf.org
Directions From Mopac: Go west on 2222 and go past the light at Mesa. The next street is Creek Mountain Road (before you get to Mt. Bonnell Rd.). Take a left on to Creek Mountain Rd. and go straight until the road curves to the right. Follow the road and on the left will be a green gate to the parking lot.