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At the time I am writing this (on Sunday), it is cloudy outside.

It has been raining all night and most of the morning. This is not a bad thing for Texas, that has been in a state of drought for a couple of years at least. The lake near where we live, Lake Travis, was, until recently, only about 30% full.

So I thought that instead of complaining, I would show you some pictures of a lovely place we visited twice in August. It is a natural pool preserve.

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Travis County - Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

The first time we went, swimming was forbidden due to bacteria in the water (it was extremely hot).

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Travis County - Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

The second time, swimming was allowed and many people took advantage of the pool.

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Travis County - Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

The grotto was created after thousands of years of erosion due to water.

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Travis County - Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

A unique natural area surrounds this pool, collapsed grotto and canyon, formed by thousands of years of water erosion. Lush plant communities, a variety of wildlife species and natural shelter attracted the area’s first inhabitants. Cultural remains date back over 8,000 years.

According to the Travis County Parks website, Apaches used to live in the area. By the mid 19th century, the area was owned by Morgan C. Hamilton, brother of Andrew Jake Hamilton (the 10th governor of Texas). It was later (late 19th century) bought by a German immigrant family, the Reimers, in order to raise cattle and sheep.

When the grotto was (re)discovered, they decided to open it to the public. While at the time, few people had the financial means to travel to the area for a recreational purpose, by the mid 20th century, more people came, making the area often overpopulated.

Part of the Reimers property was bought by Travis County in 1985 in order to rehabilitate the area.

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Travis County - Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Today, the preserve is open between 9 am and 6 pm daily, and there’s an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle.

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Travis County - Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

There are many different species of animals in the park, as well as varied vegetation.

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Travis County - Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Travis County - Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

It is not easy to take pictures of the grotto, as very dark areas (under the grotto) stand alongside the outside, with bright Texas sun.

Here is a selection of pictures. You can click on any picture to enlarge and open the slideshow.

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