A Ten-Mile Stroll to the Library

Sunday the library was closed for New Year’s. On Monday again it was closed for New Year’s (observed). But Tuesday the libraries opened at ten o’clock, and I was ready at eight to start my new year’s resolution of hiking the circuit of Austin Public Library branches. My maps and supplies were on hand to assist me in this awesome journey. And the weather was absolutely beautiful.

Overall route

Why would I walk ten miles just to go to the library? you may ask. Well, it’s simple. I love walking and I love libraries. I’d like to walk more and to visit more of the libraries in Austin. Plus, as a non-driver this is a great opportunity for me to explore ways of getting around the area independently. As a non-consumer, it’s a fulfilling activity that doesn’t require spending a dime. And as someone that doesn’t always get out enough, it’s designed to bring out a bit more of the explorer in me.

Little Walnut Creek branch library

Well… I stopped at this library before it opened, but the lights were on inside so I’m counting it! Don’t worry, I’ll be back many times this year.

Kicking off my hike at the Little Walnut Creek branch library

The route took me through a part of the neighborhood I had never explored before. Sadly, it was full of litter and I quickly had my fill of picking up trash. Next time I go out I’ll need to take a bag with me for collecting it. 😦

(It turns out the litter is most prevalent in my neighborhood. An hour into my walk, I stopped seeing so much trash everywhere.)

It was cool to see more of the area though. All the little creek and railroad crossings were my favorite. There were areas widely paved for pedestrian traffic and areas with no sidewalk at all. Winter really is the best time for walking in such places because the shrubs and other unruly growth (or worse, poison ivy) aren’t pushing you into the middle of the street with the cars.

Walnut Creek trail–once a dirt path and now a huge concrete slab complete with an amazing quantity of signs and a dashed yellow line in the middle.
Crossing MoPac safely via underpass
The area once known as Waters Park. This old railway transported in the granite used to construct the state capitol building in the 1880’s and a town built up around it but is long gone now.

Milwood branch library

Two hours after heading out, the Milwood library was finally in my sights. It was an area that I never visit. The bus doesn’t stop close by and I’ve always considered it to be in the middle of nowhere. How amazing that I was able to walk there!

Metal sculptures in front of the Milwood branch library

I quickly gobbled down a couple of rolls before going in, grabbed a few editions of Texas Gardener magazine, and enjoyed an hour of replenishing relaxation.

Entry to Milwood branch library

The seating didn’t look that plentiful. Fortunately, it wasn’t at all crowded during my visit.

One seating area at Milwood branch

I marveled at the checkout center for electronic devices to use in the library. Next time I’ll have to try it out instead of just getting a quick glance.

Laptop / tablet kiosk!

Soon my hour was up and it was time to head out on the second part of my walk if I wanted to get home at a normal hour.

The strangest thing about this trip was that I was sure I’d be tempted as afternoon approached to make a quick stop at the Krispy Kreme or Rudy’s barbeque or some other delicious food place, but I wasn’t. The few snacks I had with me kept me satisfied throughout the day. I’ve experienced this before too. Just by getting out and doing something active, I’m less tempted to overindulge. Then again, maybe it was due to that dead raccoon I saw by the side of the road.

Spicewood Springs branch library

Less than two hours after setting out again, I made it to my final circuit stop for the day.

I made it to Spicewood Springs!

I’d been to the Spicewood Springs branch before, but it seemed way out there even when travelling on the bus. No wonder my feet were starting to hurt a bit. I quickly grabbed a couple more books and a comfy seat and sat down to read.

Kicking back and reading Lynda Barry’s “One Hundred Demons” at the library.

After some relaxing easy reading, I had to walk just a few blocks to hop on the bus back home. There was a transfer towards the end involving a fifteen minute wait.

But no, I had a crazy idea. It wasn’t that far from the transfer stop to my home. I could walk that too! This may not have been the best idea. I could feel a few little blisters forming on the bottom of my feet and the first several blocks felt like the longest of all. Good thing it was only a half hour distance on foot from my house….

Home Base

Woohoo! I made it back in one piece. I was just in time to catch the episode of MacGyver with the robots that look like Daleks, while I made and then ate delicious fideo. My husband was really lucky he got home in time to eat some of it too.

Hike #1 of the Austin Public Library circuit was a resounding success. It was thrilling to realize the huge area that I could now consider “walking distance” and I immediately started dreaming about the next hike. Will I do another long trek all the way downtown to the central library (still shorter than this one)? Will I explore one I’ve never been to before? Every option sounds good right now.

9 thoughts on “A Ten-Mile Stroll to the Library

  1. lucindalines January 5, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    I enjoyed this post and would like it if I could find a like button, just saying!! Hope to read more in the future.


  2. Bethany January 5, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    I love this idea! I’m also a non-driver and have to walk a couple of miles to get to a decent-sized library. But I love walking so it’s not a chore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. connie.n.w. January 9, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    Wow, great job! It must feel good to get one resolution completed! Many don’t even get to the part where they actually try haha I especially like the metal sculptures! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award! I think you have a lot of interesting posts 🙂 If you’re interested, more info here: https://olivejooce.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/very-cool/


    • Deborah Ray January 31, 2017 / 4:20 am

      Thanks, Connie. 🙂 Unfortunately I’ll have to turn down the nomination as I’m trying to step away from blogging most of the time. But I will plant a lavender in honor of all the writers who have inspired me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • connie.n.w. February 3, 2017 / 2:39 am

        That’s a wonderful and beautiful gesture. How easy/complicated are planting lavender plants? I’d like to have some nature in my place 🙂 I recently bought daffodils, but I can see them now and they don’t look too good…


  4. Ruan Schoeman January 22, 2017 / 10:17 am

    Hi Deborah, great post.
    I really like the sculptures at Milwood.
    I saw the electronic check out stand, how does that work? Can you book out a tablet to take home with you or is it just for use in the library?


    • Deborah Ray January 31, 2017 / 4:15 am

      Thanks Ruan. They’re only for use in the library. It’s a two-hour limit. I haven’t actually tried it myself (this was the first time I went to a library that had it), but they have the laptop checkout at the Ruiz and Carver branches so I may have to try that when my walks take me there.


  5. claudlakeblog January 31, 2017 / 3:08 am

    Hmmm, nice, what a good idea. Happy continued walking, and buying nothing new! Very rewarding to be entertained and exercised for free, don’t you think?


    • Deborah Ray January 31, 2017 / 4:27 am

      Definitely! How is it that it’s the free things that are priceless? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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