Hiking to natural swimming holes, strolling through downtown New Orleans, eating crawdads on the banks of the Mississippi River, and visiting an inclusive trick riding school of its own kind--all in the Dirty South!
We left Austin to go to one of the country's top swimming holes: Hamilton Pool. Hamilton Pool is gorgeous! But it's ultra crowded in the high-season, so beware. Brad and I visited on January 22nd so there were only a handful of people at the pool at the same time as us and the water was a little bit too chilly to swim in.
Unfortunately, my monthly womanly curse struck me with a firey vengeance. I tried to enjoy Hamilton Pool, but I could barley hike because the pain was so bad...
After we visited the pool, I took a massive amount of ibuprofen and laid in my bed, dying, while Brad drove us to New Orleans, Louisiana.
We arrived in New Orleans just as the night was getting started. We spent a good amount of time trying to find a safe, guarded place to park my van while we roamed the streets. The challenge was finding a decently affordable parking area that was actually high-clearance vehicle friendly. I didn't trust parking my van on the street since I had my boards strapped to the roof and all the other things I cherish inside of my van.
An hour later, we found a place!
Here were the highlights from the next few days of the road trip:
It was okay... I felt gross still, so it was hard to pry myself away from my van-cave. I should probably give New Orleans a re-do in the future... however, the buildings were pretty and it was cool to see "Disneyland in real life." We found an extremely talented jazz band that was playing at one of the bars, so we spent most of our time listening to them.
We visited our old roommates and their family in Slidell, which is about 30 minutes away from New Orleans. We got to taste fresh oysters, participate in Mardi Gras parades in the local elementary school and nursing home, and go to a crawdad cook-out right on the Mississippi River (my favorite part!) Staying in Slidell really redeemed my Louisiana experience. The Melhado's were extremely hospitable and treated us well while we were there!
We stopped at Celisse's School of the Equestrian Arts in Mobile. I worked with the owners, Kristen and Jason, a couple years ago and I was really intrigued when they told me about their school. I was really excited to stop by and check it out.
Kristen is an extremely talented trick rider on horses and both her and Jason run one of the few trick riding schools in the country. They take the school to another level by incorporating hippotherapy into the program. Hippotherapy is a form of treatment that helps people with cognitive and physical disabilities to improve through riding and interacting with horses. If you're ever in Mobile, I highly recommend you check out Celisse's School of the Equestrian Arts. They have an astounding program that benefits and enlightens people of ALL ages and abilities!
Southern hospitality is a real thing! Brad and I were extremely grateful for all of the acquaintances that turned into friends, and for the good memories we made while visiting old friends as we traveled across the country!
I am already feeling nostalgic as I reflect on those few days in this short blog post. We were having so much fun and packing it all in that we did not take very many photos!
On the next blog post, I will cover the places we visited while we were in Florida.