FT 17 - Hamilton Pool: An Example of a Past Climate Change Refugium

Tuesday, August 9, 2011: 8:00 AM-1:00 PM
Trinity Street Lobby Field Trip Pick Up, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Jackie Poole
From the hot, semi-arid, juniper- and live oak-studded grassy uplands of Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, an almost hidden, collapsed limestone grotto slices through the upland plateau. The grotto, formed by thousands of years of water erosion, begins with a 50 foot waterfall dropping into a natural pool that drains down a deep canyon shaded by bald cypresses and lined with sedges, grasses, wildflowers, and ferns. Higher humidity and lower temperatures within the canyon provide a relictual and more diverse flora than the surrounding uplands. Several rare and disjunct species, including canyon mock-orange and the listed Golden-Cheeked Warbler, occur here. Their protection at the Preserve contributes to the Balcones Canyonlands Habitat Conservation Plan, a regional effort to balance protection of endangered species habitat with economic development. Will this refugium from previous climate change be able to meet the coming challenges of future climate change and increasing rural development?

Registration Fee: $45

Equipment and Attire: Yes, sturdy footgear is needed as the terrain is uneven, rocky and slippery in some areas. The elevation from the top to the bottom of the canyon is about 100 feet with some stone steps and rocky uneven terrain. Although the trip is planned for morning, temperatures will be in the 80s and 90s during the trip. The pool trail is 1/4 mile and if time permits, we will walk down the canyon for perhaps another mile. Sunscreen and hats are a must, and perhaps insect repellent. It might be possible to swim but I would rather not offer this option for safety reasons (there is no life guard and the pool is often closed due to high bacteria levels).

Itinerary: Leave the convention center at 8 a.m. and arrive at the preserve in about an hour. After a brief assembly (15-30 minutes) in the parking lot, we will hike down into the canyon, taking the pool trail (roughly 1.5 hours). As time permits, we will walk down the canyon trail, returning to the parking lot at noon to allow for the hour ride back to the convention center, returning at 1 pm.

See more of: Field Trips
Copyright © . All rights reserved.
Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.