For a euphoric weekend backpacking trip, head to Lake Georgetown. While the reservoir offers a host of activities for water enthusiasts—fishing, boating, and just splashing around—the 28-mile Goodwater Loop holds its own fun. The trail borders the lake, so the water’s almost always in view as you trek through limestone cliffs, springtime wildflowers, and across the North San Gabriel Dam. (Just beware of mountain bikers coming around the bend.)
Goodwater Loop can be accessed from any of the seven trailheads, though I prefer going in from Cedar Breaks, located on the south side of the lake. That entrance keeps you close to multiple camping options at night, whether you want to reserve a site at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spots or cozy into one of the three primitive backcountry areas. And if an overnighter isn’t your thing, hike a smaller section of the trail—making sure to leave plenty of time to enjoy the water and to pet the many dogs of fellow hikers you’ll meet along the way.
—Jacqueline Knox, editorial intern
Get down at an all-ages funk fest
Austinites, Motown Mondays with Matchmaker Band are the cure for the Monday blues. Made up of ten-plus musicians and vocalists, the group performs weekly at the Far Out Lounge and Stage. The Monday shows start at 7:30 p.m. and continue through 10 p.m.—a very respectable weeknight hour—with a wide selection of covers of songs by the likes of the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and the Supremes. The extensive song list you’ll hear (and dance to) each Monday night extends beyond Motown, soul, and R&B classics to the funk and pop hits topping today’s charts.
No babysitter? No problem. All ages are welcome on Motown Mondays. A $5 cover will grant you access to the spacious backyard, where you’ll find the stage, food trucks, and plenty of table seating. An outdoor bar is available if you’re needing a little liquid courage before you hit the dance floor. And trust me, you will hit it hard.
—Darice Chavira, art producer
Step into your feels with Mitski’s “Valentine, Texas”
On the slow, quiet opening song of Mitski’s new album, Laurel Hell, the indie singer invites us to “step carefully into the dark.” The welcome is eerie, prepping us for the dark emotions of the record to come. It’s not until the second (and last) verse of the opening song that the lyrics reference the physical landscape of Valentine, Texas, the small West Texas town most prominently known as the location of the Prada Marfa art installation. But “Valentine, Texas” recasts the town as a space so isolated, the “dust devils are made / By dancing ghosts.”
The lyrics immediately sent me back to last spring, when I drove out to West Texas with a friend who was about to move out of state. On that trip, I was once again struck by the expansive freedom of the wide-open desert and the comforting embrace of the mountains. I found myself imagining what it’d be like to choose the kind of solitude that places like Valentine, Texas, can offer. I spent a lot of time staring at the mountains, feeling small and light and free, a state of mind Mitski clearly knows well. “Let me watch those mountains from underneath / And maybe they’ll finally / Float off of me.”
—Doyin Oyeniyi, assistant editor