Hippie Hollow

Ever notice how things occassionally appear in the news that trigger a memory of one’s youth? It makes me wonder if life isn’t a big, circular event like an enormous merry-go-round, eventually coming full circle to witness experiences of youth, yet changed by the passing of time and the infection called commercialism.

I spent my college years around Austin, Texas while attending The University of Texas at Austin. I actually lived near Lake Travis, a large man-made lake that is part of the Highland Lakes chain of dammed lakes. Lake Travis was a most excellent lake for water skiing and sailing, but one of the more interesting distractions was to cruise by the legendary Hippie Hollow. Back in the late 60s early 70s, Hippie Hollow was a loosely designated part of the steep hills surrounding the basin, the largest portion of Lake Travis located immediately behind the dam. Not only was the basin the best place to ski or sail, it was also the best place for sightseeing, thanks to those immodest hippies routinely offing their clothes for a dip and subsequent sunning on the rocks at waters edge.

All things sadly, eventually, succumb to commercialism. And Hippie Hollow (conservatives beware: nudity shown) is one example of this inevitability. Originally a word-of-mouth location where hippies and other free spirits could sun au natural, it quickly attained a cult-like status, surviving largely because local police looked the other way, probably thinking it’s better to contain them in one place versus all over the lake. We used to go skiing in the basin and cruise by Hippie Hollow, sometimes offering to take a few of the nature buffs skiing. It always seemed to me rather insensible to ski naked, given the obvious dangers of falling at full boat speed.

It’s been a couple decades since I’ve been in a boat on Lake Travis, and I assumed Hippie Hollow went the way of most things of those free-spirited years, but a [no longer available article at ananova.com] showed me otherwise! The article reports the capsizing of a sightseeing boat on Lake Travis. A concern, but nothing particularly notable, until I read that it capsized while moored at Hippie Hollow. Apparently, for obvious reasons, all the passengers moved to one side causing the boat to tip over. Wanting to find out if Hippie Hollow continued in the manner I remember, I Googled it and found the Hippie Hollow Nudist Park Web page, thus witnessing another free-spirit memory gone commercial. There aren’t too many unfettered memories of that decade left! Given time, I’m sure they’ll all melt away, either disappearing completely or like the legendary Hippie Hollow, suffer a hostile capitalistic takeover.