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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Austin's great outdoors

Itching to get active? Join the club. Kayaking, hiking, skydiving and more await


Jeff Gaer steadies a kayak, encouraging a fledgling paddler into the teetering plastic craft.

"The big thing is get your butt in the boat first," he coaxes. "If you put your feet in first, you'll kick the boat out from under you."

The rookie paddler swings aboard, grabs her double-bladed paddle and glides away from the Texas Rowing Center. In another half-hour, she's lolling under the Congress Avenue Bridge, one of 15 kayakers from Hill Country Outdoors who have opted to mix exercising and socializing, watching a stream of flapping bats emerge.

Austin is a great place for people who are active and love the outdoors. But what if you don't know anyone who wants to get out and enjoy the city the same way you do? You join a group like this, which offers an ever-changing menu of muscle-flexing activities.
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