Monday, May 12, 2008

Camping at Colorado Bend

Morning mist over the Colorado River

This weekend we went camping in Colorado Bend state park. We had planned the trip a while ago. My husband was looking forward to a cellphone- and email-free weekend after too many long weeks of work and travel. I was looking forward to communing with nature and eggs and bacon cooked on a campstove.

When the weather forecast predicted a high of 97 for Saturday, I spent Friday night searching for a last-minute cabin with air conditioning. No luck. So we set out for the park, which is about 30 miles west of Lampasas.

I managed to remember everything we needed, except my camera, so these photos are from our previous trip to the park in October 2006.

We headed down this path alongside the river about one mile to the hike-in camping area. I used to be a hardcore camper; I've hiked in for miles and stayed for days with just what I could carry on my back. But, as I've gotten older, I've started wanting to eat more than meal-in-a-cup and drink more than water.

So we used my new anniversary present to help us haul coolers of food and beverage and lots and lots of water to our site. I may have lost some of my hardcore cred, but I'll give it up any day to have a cold beer after swimming in the river.

I wish I could have gotten picture of the abundant wildlife. We saw an armadillo hop. The dog was equally as scared. We saw a large raccoon trying its best to get in our cooler. We heard the deer splashing in the river during the night. I saw a tarantula and a painted bunting.

Two large herons fished north and south of my husband, who thinks he was unsuccessful at his fishing efforts because the troutbass were mating. (My husband's co-worker who is really into fishing thinks they were bass, but that really messes up my pun!) He claims to have seen a female trout releasing its eggs, with two males ready to fertilize them. I can't verify his menage à trout story, but I couldn't resist the pun.

I also wish I could have gotten photos of some of the flora in bloom. I'm in the middle of training to become a National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward, and I've garnered a new level of respect for role the plants play in feeding and harboring wildlife. I've never been a huge fan of inland sea oats before, but now that I know how much it provides for the wildlife, I've started to find them more beautiful. They covered the shady river side. The Mexican hat and gayfeather were also in bloom.

During the last trip I visited Gorman Falls.

This time we rented a kayak and boated down to the falls near the end of the Spicewood Springs trail. I think we can now firmly confirm that the dog does not enjoy kayaking. She much prefers to have earth, water, or rocks beneath her feet.

We were as happy as she was to be there, especially once the temperatures dropped and the other campers left. We've found that the best time to camp is on a Sunday night. Most people have left by early afternoon, and almost no one comes to camp after them. We had the whole place to ourselves, with a private beach on the Colorado. Not bad for $7 a night.


  1. So that's where you were. I left you one of those pesky emails you were escaping from. ;-)

    It looks like a beautiful spot. I'm glad you got the cool weather in addition to the hot. No hail like we had here, I trust.

  2. Pam, sorry I missed you. I sent you an email.

    And yes, we missed the hail. Last night I was inspecting my vegetable garden and wondering if a squirrel or something had gone nuts. Lots of branches were broken. Then my neighbors told me about the hail storm. I'm glad I missed it!

  3. What a beautiful and scenic place to camp! Too bad that you forgot your camera.

  4. vertie,

    Absolutely lovely post...I hear rumors of Armadillos moving north but haven't ever seen them. Do they hop?

    I totaly get wanting something other than cup a meal on camping trips. We do more day hikes now, but my son and DH do big backpacking trips hauling everything on their backs!

    Dear friends of ours have taken to hauling a float behind their kayak (they have sea kayaks for lakes) for their Lab! He still prefers the ground.


  5. Robin, yes, I can't believe I forgot the camera! it is a very beautiful site. Our favorite campsite in the area.

    Gail, I don't think that armadillos normally hop, but I also don't think the armadillo was expecting to see my dog! I don't if a float behind the kayak would help, but it would make for a great sight.

  6. Wow... what beautiful scenery! I'm definitely going to make note of the "Sunday night is the best night for camping" tidbit. I bet that's true around here as well.

  7. A friend and I were hiking at Colorado Bend SP once when we heard an armadillo rummaging through the brush. We were silent so we could see it come out literally a couple of feet in front of us. It was totally unaware of our presence until the wind shifted and blew our scent towards him and, yes, he hopped away fast and furious. So normally they don't hop but they certainly can.

    Can't wait to get back to that beautiful park!