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Plunging into the Center of the Earth (almost)

Tucked away in the Texas Hill Country just south of Austin, a small creek weaves through forest brush, leading to an artesian spring. But this is not just any artesian spring; it’s an artesian cave spring. Called Jacob’s Well, this spring goes deep into the earth through a series of underwater caves (think a real-life version of The Descent). It’s actually the second largest fully submerged cave in Texas, and runs 140 feet deep. Within that space is a widespread network of tunnels ready to be explored – but only by the bravest of divers. A few have actually never resurfaced after getting lost in its endless pathways.

Fortunately, our visit to Jacob’s Creek last month extended no further than the surface, from which the only thing visible is a mysterious, glowing hole of gorgeous blue waters. It was the last weekend of the season – September 30 – and a perfect “fall” Texas day (aka a sunny 85 degrees). We had booked our 10-noon time slot months ahead, as space is limited to around 25 people at a time in the pool. And for good reason – the actual well is quite small and wouldn’t have had space for many more people.

We found a sunny rock a bit down the creek from the well to start from. The second I entered the shallow waters, my feet slipped out from under me on the slippery bottom and I was fully submerged (and had a sore neck for a few days.) Nonetheless, I made it to the well and even jumped off the rock overlocking the deepest part. I’ve done a number of jumps from high places into waters below – but never has it been quite like this: the water was so close, yet the jump felt so far. Talk about a mind warp. But the waters were oh-so-refreshing on a hot Texas day.

Jacob's Well jump

I never imagined Texas would offer aquatic adventures like this one. This state is always surprising me, and I’m thankful Jacob’s Well was one of its surprises. I may go back sometime, but I doubt I’ll ever dare to go much deeper than the surface.

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