A dip in a secluded Hill Country swimming hole makes everything right

I’ve been spending every spare hour lately writing.

When I’m not working here at the Austin American-Statesman, I’m chipping away at a book I’m writing about the conservationist J. David Bamberger.

A few weeks ago, I took a week off from the Statesman and put myself in (almost) solitary confinement out at Bamberger’s ranch, Selah, near Johnson City. The rolling hills and waving grasses there speak to my soul, and when I look out over the land, or talk to Bamberger about how he brought this once-overgrazed corner of the Hill Country back to life, I just want to hug a tree or roll in the dirt or scream “thank you” up at the sky.

Pam LeBlanc relaxes on a swim platform at Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve near Johnson City. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Mostly, though, I want to jump in a small spring-fed lake at the ranch. It’s the swimming hole of my dreams – green-blue water, a floating swim platform, cypress trees and clear, clear water. Most days I get the entire lake to myself.

Swimming works magic on me. I sort out problems, stretch my body, crank up my heart rate and revel in the feeling that Mother Nature is cradling me in her arms. It’s bliss, especially at sunrise or sunset, when the light turns everything golden, and it helps put me in the right frame of mind to write.

Gretch Sanders, left, and Pam LeBlanc, right, play on the swim platform at Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve. Photo by Chris LeBlanc


My husband Chris recently used his new drone to take video of me swimming at the lake.

Just watching it makes me happy, and reminds me how important exercise is not just physically, but mentally as well.


Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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