There’s something special about spending time in the Texas Hill Country. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a city girl through and through, but nothing compares to the moment I’m in a wide open space, breathing fresh air and basking in the quiet. My troubles miraculously disappear and I can simply live.
Sometimes I don’t realize when I need a break. That said, at the beginning of the month of March, I was absolutely aware I needed one. Between the rush of the city, a busy travel schedule and a series of commitments (both professional and personal), I wanted to get away – if only for a day. Before I could begin brainstorming ways to get to the hill country, my cousin Audrey invited me to accompany her to our friend Hendrika’s ranch. Two hours outside of Austin, and just seven miles from the town of Llano, H’s family homestead awaited.
We hit the road early Saturday morning, coffee in hand, blasting old favorite songs and feeling the cool, crisp air as the windows were rolled down. Part of me didn’t want the road trip to end, but as soon as we got closer to the ranch, I began to get really excited.
I mean, this is a real ranch, y’all. With horses and funny donkeys and goats and dogs and miles and miles of acreage and it was wonderful. I explored various aspects of the land with Audrey and Hendrika, stopping to take pictures of the animals, the scenery and anything else that peaked my interest.
For hours we didn’t have a care in the world as we drove around the property, listened to country music, fed goats/horses and explored a cave.
I even did a little target practice. Yes, me, who shot a shotgun once in 1999 and haven’t tried it since, handled a pistol and a revolver like a champ. I didn’t like the revolver, it was too difficult to shoot, but I loved the pistol. Hendrika’s stepfather even told me I was a good shot. I honestly believe it’s because I’m so used to aiming with my camera (which sounds kind of funny, but there’s really no other reason for me to be good at it!) PLEASE NOTE we were only shooting targets, not actual animals! I would never, people, never!
But she might…
Ten thousand pictures, seven hours and one sunburned Katie later, it was time to head home. Audrey and I reluctantly loaded up her city Volvo (a big difference after spending the day in Hendrika’s truck!) and hit the road back to Austin. We made a quick detour at Cooper’s – so, so good – but before we knew it we were back in the city limits, good memories intact.
A day in the hill country was exactly what I needed, especially with good friends like Audrey and Hendrika. H – thank you so much for having me and giving me a glimpse into the life you knew growing up. It is wonderful and I sincerely hope to come back one day.