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20 January . 2022

Hike Sweetwater and the Hill Country with Rosemary and Bonnie

One of Sweetwater’s most popular resident groups is the Hiking Club, which meets several times a month to explore trails inside the community and in the surrounding Hill Country.

The hikes are led by resident Rosemary Borthwick and her Australian Shepherd, Bonnie, whose love of daily exercise led to the club’s founding.

Rosemary moved to Sweetwater eight years ago, relocating from Chicago to be closer to her oldest daughter and grandchildren in Austin. Shortly after moving in, she got Bonnie, now 7.

Rosemary and Bonnie soon became a regular sight along Sweetwater’s trails, since both love to stay active. Like most herding breeds, Aussies thrive on daily exercise. And as a native of Scotland, Rosemary is also accustomed to walking a lot.

“In Scotland, we walk everywhere if it’s only a mile or so away. We don’t even think about getting in the car,” says Rosemary. “When I first saw Sweetwater, I fell in love with it, because the terrain reminded me of the Scottish Lowlands.”

After seeing and chatting with Rosemary and Bonnie many times, Sweetwater’s Lifestyle Director asked Rosemary if she’d be interested in spearheading a Hiking Club, since a number of residents had been expressing interest in such a group. Having recently retired from a 45-year career as a physical therapist, Rosemary welcomed the new role.

Today, the Hiking Club counts about 40 members, who receive email notices to join the regular hikes on Saturdays and Mondays.  

Rosemary says the Hiking Club has found an enthusiastic reception among residents of all ages at Sweetwater, counting both newcomers and longtime residents among its members.

“Residents love the guided hikes for the neighborly camaraderie, and also because some had been a bit apprehensive about setting out on their own,” Rosemary says. “Sweetwater’s trail system can be a little rugged and seemingly remote in some places, which is a big part of its beauty and appeal.”

Although the possibility of encountering a snake is rare, Bonnie is trained to detect the presence of several species of poisonous snakes that live in the Hill Country, and provides an early warning if needed

Two of Rosemary’s favorite trails at Sweetwater are Canyon Trail and Limestone Falls Trail. At the latter, she recently discovered a spring fed pool past the landmark waterfall, where Bonnie loves to swim.

“It’s like a miniature Hamilton Pool,” she says.

On that topic, the Hamilton Greenbelt is one of the many places the Hiking Club has explored on field trips, along with Pace Bend Park, Mount Lakeway and others.

When not hiking, Rosemary enjoys relaxing at her home, which has a backyard with greenbelt views and access to nearby Canyon Trail. She also enjoys riding her bike all over Sweetwater.

If you’re a Sweetwater resident who is interested in joining the Hiking Club, email our Lifestyle Director, who’ll add you to the list to receive event notifications.

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