San Marcos Like a Local

Misty Morning Sunrise

January 7, 2015

Spring Lake Sunrise:
Spring Lake is transformed into a colorful dreamscape just before sunrise.

Photo blog by Andy Heatwole 

It's 6:00 AM and I'm walking briskly along the shores of Spring Lake in the faint light of early dawn. It's 20 degrees at the moment, the coldest morning of the year so far, and every breath feels like I'm inhaling icicles. The sun will be cresting the horizon soon and I need to find a good spot and get everything set up while I still have feeling in my hands.

Steamy Falls:
The headwaters of the San Marcos River are always beautiful but especially so on cold mornings.

Out on the lake, rising in billowing clouds, is the reason I'm here. The reason I got out of a perfectly warm bed at 4:30 AM. It's a natural phenomenon that only happens on cold mornings - steam on the San Marcos River. Sometimes it's just a little, sometimes it's a lot. This morning it's a lot.

Pure San Marcos:
Old Main glows in the morning sunlight above a steamy Spring Lake.

As the morning sun blazes through the mist, it creates beautiful shafts of light and color. In that moment there is nothing else, only the beauty that surrounds me. Scenes like this can be experienced all along the river, from Spring Lake to Rio Vista but you have to be out there. I'm often surprised by how few people I encounter on these outings. It's early and it's cold but the reward is worth the effort. So come on down to the river on a chilly morning. Dress warm and experience the magic with me.

Rio Vista Sunrise:
Sunrise through the fog rising from the spillway at Rio Vista dam.

Sewell Park:
A serene and foggy morning at Sewell Park.

Steamy Rio Vista:
Rio Vista is beautiful and mysterious in the fog.

City Park:
Morning sun blazes through heavy fog at City Park.

Andy Heatwole is a professional photographer and San Marcos native. He's spent the last decade photographing the natural wonders of the Central Texas area. His latest project, San Marcos Photos, is an effort to document the diverse beauty of his home town. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to see his new photos first!