After stalking the reservation system for a couple of days, I was able to snag a campsite for one night of Easter weekend in Colorado Bend State Park. It was the only campsite that was available so I wasn't expecting much, but hey - a campsite is really just a place to eat and sleep.
As it turns out, we had the best campsite in park (not just my opinion - my pal Debbie that works at the park told me when we checked in!). Site 25 - book it for a couple of days and thank me later. The site was pretty secluded - you're down a bank from the road and the drive-in campsites. On one end is a small trail to the river (only one person came through while we were in the site) and the next site over was a good distance away. The river is a really short walk so it's easy to go back and forth without any hassle. The only downside of the site is that hauling our gear up and down the bank was kind of a pain in the ass, but I would do it again (and I plan to soon). It was probably just sucky for me because I'm out of shape, though, so take that with a grain of salt!
Since we were only camping for one night, we obviously had a lot to pack in. Here's what we did during our 24 hours at Colorado Bend!
Skipped rocks in the Colorado River
It sounds simple and boring, but damn, we really enjoyed this. After setting up camp, we brought our camp chairs down to the river and placed them right on the bank with the legs in the water. We had soaked our feet in the cold water and hunted for flat rocks that we sent flying across the surface (and also straight in - we're not very good at skipping rocks). We watched black vultures soaring around above us and the fishermen dotting the river. Sometimes the simple things are the best things.
Hiked the Spicewood Springs trail
Before dinner, we wanted to hike to see Spicewood Springs. The trail starts in the Spicewood Day Use Area and is 1.3 miles long. That's a little misleading, though, because the trail is one way and can be connected with the Spicewood Canyon trail to make a loop. The area where people swim in the springs is right at the beginning so if you just want to swim, the walk is easy and short. We stupidly didn't bring bathing suits because I was convinced that the water would be too cold to swim it. It was cold (as was the river), but it was totally swimmable.
If you hike this trail, be aware that there are numerous creek crossings. The first one we came across, I fell on my ass in front of numerous people and got my pants soaking wet. For the rest of the hike, I looked like I had pissed myself. Oh well! Wear good shoes, though, because some crossings are deeper/more slippery than others and you can/will get wet. I had my Chacos on which were perfect for walking through the water, but not great for the rock scrambling. They did fine, though.
We hit the overlooks as the sun was lowering in the sky and the views looking down at the springs were really phenomenal.
Hiked to Gorman Falls
After a good night's sleep, we woke up around 7AM and got moving for the day. We put our hiking clothes on, packed up our backpack, and by 8AM we were hitting the Gorman Falls trail to see the iconic 70 foot waterfall. The trail is 1.5 miles one way and I'd classify it as fairly easy until the very end. There are cables strung between posts that you hang on to as you slide your way down slick rocks on a steep slope to get to the falls. Equally fun going up (no, that's not sarcasm, it really was fun!).
Gorman Falls looks like a cave on the outside of the Earth. The process that formed it is the same one that forms caves, so the comparison is appropriate. The water comes from an underground spring and through time has created the travertine formations that the site is known for. The area is home to Guadalupe bass and is a very sensitive and fragile environment. Please don't be a jerk and cross the barriers. Also, don't fucking leave your trash everywhere. Lily and I picked up a lot of trash from the area. It's not hard to bring a trash bag, y'all. Don't suck!
We were the first ones to the fall that day and didn't see another soul on the trail until the very end when we were almost back to the car.
So that's pretty much it. I know it doesn't sound like a whole lot of hiking, but damn my legs are sore. It was about six miles total. Both hikes were labeled as challenging and contained areas of scrambling/climbing up rocks. I worked muscles I haven't used too often lately. It was definitely a good enough amount for us considering we had very little time in the park. In the morning after the hike, we asked if there was availability for a second night and got an answer we didn't want but did expect - a big ol' NOPE. We begrudgingly packed up camp and headed out. We are definitely going to be back sooner rather than later! And next time, we WILL bring our bathing suits.