It all started when my daughter called and said "Dad, you might be interested in taking some pictures of our mudder and adding it to Texas Outside." Didn't take us long to check out what her mudder was all about and we immediately packed the bags and headed to my daughter's house in Austin.
Mudder's Welcome, Whiners Go Home
When we got to her house my first question was "do you know this mudder has 19 obstacles spread out over 10 miles and lots of mud?" "Yep" - she knew it and she had been practicing some of the obstacles (running, rope climb, monkey bars, and eating mud) but she neglected to tell her sister, who was coming down from Dallas, what she was in for. Their slogan to get them motivated was "when was the last time you did something for the first time?" Well, this is going to be interesting! And was it ever!
Turns out that mudders are becoming very popular across the United States, in fact the day after the Austin mudder a mudder on the east coast was featured on Good Morning America - it looked much easier than my daughters mudder. Tough Mudder put on this event in Austin and they describe it as: "Tough Mudder is a team-oriented 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finisher rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won't find anywhere else." Tough Mudder holds over 50 mudders across the United States and, in fact, there is one in Dallas October 3rd & 4th. Watch this video to see what tough mudders are all about.
Before starting the race, my daughters' flight of 100 or more very athletic guys and gals and a few who looked like they might not make it to the first obstacle were given a rousing pep talk by what looked like a marine drill sergeant. "You can do this! Encourage and help your fellow racers. Test and push your limits. Tough Mudder is about teamwork and camaraderie. You get out of it what you put into it " And it'll test your strength, agility, courage, grit, camaraderie, teamwork, and more. They all looked excited and maybe a little scared but off they went with smiles on their faces to the first obstacle. Some were dressed in team colors, others in some very interesting and fun costumes.
6 hours later my daughters returned with huge smiles on the face (which was hard to see because it was covered in mud and their blonde and auburn hair was caked a dirty brown - same with their new mudder outfits), a real sense of accomplishment, and a pride in themselves for completing every obstacle. For the next three hours they shared stories, giggles, and tales of joy and accomplishment. We were very proud parents and wishing we were younger and could do it with them in Dallas in October!
Some of the obstacles at this tough mudder included: Ring of Fire, Birth Canal, Balls Out, Cry Baby, Mud Mile, Skidmarked, King of the Swingers, Beached Whale, Hold Your Wood, Kiss of Mud, Electroshock Therapy (the daughters hated this one!), Everest, Funky Monkey, Arctic Enema (not fun sliding down into a pool of freezing cold ice water - took their breath away), Pole Dancer, Berlin Walls, Underwater Tunnels, Ladder to Hell, King of the Mountain, Greased Lightning, and Balls to the Wall. I'm shaking just thinking about these challenges! Take a look at the obstacles on the Tough Mudder Website.
Some comments about Tough Mudder from my daughter include: "the most important thing to mention is how everyone is there to HELP each other. Not once did we climb a wall without reaching down to help the next person over. It was physically impossible to climb some of the walls without a lift up.
And the 2nd to last event was a “half pipe” style wall that you have to (after 5.5 HOURS) run up and grab the hands of exhausted men laying on their bellies grabbing you, holding for dear life and with nothing but sheer will and determination to pull all of your dead weight the rest of the way up and over. The SUPPORT from your fellow mud brothers and sisters is what blew my mind.
The Winning Pitcher
The next day we went to my grandson's baseball tournament. Allow me to brag a bit - my oldest grandson (9 year old Hudson) is a super jock and natural athlete and plays baseball, golf, basketball, and is the quarterback for his football team. This weekend his baseball team won the first 3 games and made it to the semifinals. Down six runs, they made a fantastic comeback and tied the game (Huddie got 5 outs playing short stop and 3 hits) at 10 but the other team had one more up at bat and Hudson was brought in the pitch - can you image the pressure for that poor kid. Three up and three down and on to one more inning which means each team gets one time at bat with the bases loaded and two outs! Hudson got a hit and drove in one run. Now his pitching needs to prevent the other team from getting any runs - I'm a nervous wreck but he seems calm and collected and proceed to strike out the first batter to win the game! My chest was swelled up to the size of the jolly green giant - I was really proud of that boy! And like a good sport, he was very humble about the win.
Horseshoe Bay - Games & Golf
After the game we dove to our good friends lake house on Horseshoe Bay's Applehead Island on Lake LBJ. We enjoyed a good dinner at their house, several rounds of dominos (the guys whipped the girls in 42 - which is very unusual) on the patio watching the boats cruise by, and three games of pool at which we lost to our gracious host and hostess.
The next morning the girls decided to get their revenge on the golf course and they slaughtered us guys in a game of Bingo, Bango, and Bongo - first on the green, closest to the pin, and longest putt. But we didn't mind buying a couple rounds of margaritas at the golf course pool bar.
We played Horseshoe Bay's Apple Rock Golf Course and it has to be one of the most scenic courses in Texas! Plus it's in great condition, very fair but challenging, great greens, and some very fun holes. Here is a link to our review of Apple Rock Golf Course which also made our list of the Best Resort Courses in Texas and the Most Scenic Holes in Texas!
During a round of dominos that night they asked me if I had heard about a place on nearby Lake Buchanan that has a yurt. The answer was no, but I immediately did a Google search because I was building a page for Texas Outside on Unique Lodging in Texas - teepees, tree houses, safari tents, eco domes, and yurts. Since we were only 15 minutes from Lake Buchanan, I picked up the phone and booked their yurt for next night.
A Night in a Yurt
After a fun couple nights in a million dollar 5 bedroom home overlooking Lake LBJ, we set off to spend the night at Rainbow Hearth Sanctuary & Retreat in a yurt! A yurt is a circular tent of felt or skins on a collapsible framework, used by nomads in Mongolia, Siberia, and Turkey. The yurt at Rainbow Hearth is one of five different options for a night overlooking Lake Buchanan and it's pretty cool. The yurt is almost hidden by the trees that surround this canvass covered 20' circular living area supported by beautiful wood lattice work. Inside and above a comfy king sleep number bed, two futons, and a desk is a large dome sunroof that filters in lots of natural sunlight. Step outside and there is a deck that surrounds the yurt and offering stunning views and a very unique bathroom with a rain shower surrounded by glass where the squirrels and birds watched me take a shower. A good nights sleep, a few short hikes, a relaxing soak in the hot tub, a peaceful and relaxing setting, and some good healthy food topped off a great stay. To learn more read about our stay at Rainbow Hearth Sanctuary & Retreat.
What a great way to end a fun few days and for the first time in many, many years we arrived home rested and full of energy instead of tired, sun burned, and sore!