Monday, August 6, 2012

Colorado Bend State Park

We had originally wanted to go to CBSP for a camping weekend, but it was a little too hot for Jeff to enjoy camping and I decided I wanted to do Jack's Generic Tri on my birthday, so we decided on a birthday weekend day trip to CBSP. It's a little too long of a drive for a day trip, so we got out there about 9:30am. We decided to hike from the park office to Gorman Falls instead of driving back most of the way and only hiking a little way. Hiking sounded fun, driving sounded boring, we're not into boring.
My birthday tiara at Colorado Bend State Park
Jeff at the Colorado River. Water was pretty low, where we're standing would normally be underwater
I knew it would be about 4 miles to the falls and 4 miles back, so we each took a full camelbak and a full bottle of frozen water, and Jeff threw a few snacks in his camelbak for us to share. We started off down the trail past the primitive camping, soon the trail got narrow and then it started getting hard to see. We had heard CBSP is "rugged" so we didn't think anything of it. We knew we needed to follow the river until we came to Gorman Falls Trail, so we couldn't get lost. At times we couldn't find the trail at all, I'd go one way, Jeff would go another and whoever found a better "trail" was the way we'd go. But we were having fun, checking out the wildlife and we didn't see any other people.
Cicada we found along the way, I think they're pretty cute for insects
we saw tons of different types of dragonflies too, but this is the only one I got a picture of.
 We climbed over a couple of fallen trees, and then the pretty inland sea oats grass got really thick, to the point I couldn't see where I was stepping! I told Jeff, "I hope there isn't a snake because I'd step on it without even knowing!" We were right along the edge of the steep river bank and suddenly I stepped onto...Nothing! I slid head first down the steep river bank then did a full somersault- Yikes! All I thought was "I hope I stop" because I knew it was a long way to the river, luckily I stopped about halfway down the bank, I sat up and realized I really wasn't hurt! I had slid through a bunch of thorny smilax weeds and my arm was scraped from them and I had a few small scrapes on my face. Wow that was lucky! I poured a little water on the bleeding scrapes and hoped I'd be able to wash the dirt and grass out of them at the "conference center". We continued on, and came to a big gorge, I went one way, Jeff went another way to find the best path, and I found a real maintained trail! We followed that and realized that what we had been on wasn't the park trail at all, we had been following deer trails for an hour or two!
my wounds from falling down the river bank, luckily they weren't too bad
Once we found the real trail we made it pretty quickly to the Gorman Falls Trail and the "conference center" which is an old house that stays locked unless you make reservations to use it. But Jeff did find a spigot so I could rinse off my cuts. I was really happy to rinse them off, the sweat getting into the cuts stung like crazy and I knew the dirt all over them couldn't be good. The conference center is up away from the Colorado River, but there is a large creek running right by the house, it looked like it came from nowhere! And there was A LOT of water in it, which is amazing in August! We hiked up to the falls and immediately decided the entire trip was worth it!

Gorman Falls was awesome!
We came back from the falls to the conference center and I was curious about the spring that fed the creek, so Jeff waited at a picnic table while I walked the Gorman Spring Trail, the trail follows the creek until the banks turn to sheer cliff walls, there really wasn't any way to follow the creek further, so I went back. It might be fun to wade the creek all the way to the spring sometime, but we weren't really prepared for that this time.

The 4 mile walk back was less eventful since we stayed on the actual trail! But it was really hot by then. Along some cliffs, I stopped to take a picture of a butterfly (which flew off before I got a picture) and Jeff found a cave, we decided to explore the cave a little, it was really big and it felt air conditioned inside! We probably went about 20 feet or so into the cave. Jeff shined his flashlight up on the ceiling and we saw big nests of daddy longlegs! I thought they were kind of cool and a little creepy, Jeff just thought they were creepy, but he did shine his light on one so I could get a picture.
nest of daddy long legs in the cave

We left the cave feeling a little cooler, but I figured we still had about 2 miles to get back to the car, and we didn't have too much water left. We had started with a 70 oz camelbak, a 100 oz camelbak and 2 20oz bottles of water, it all stayed icy cold for us the entire time. Jeff finished all his water and we were sharing the last of my camelbak, just after I took the last gulp of water we turned a bend and I could see the car in the distance! Perfect timing!

We ended up hiking about 9 miles, we had a great time, and saw lots of cool stuff. We definitely want to go back, but we'll probably camp next time because it really is a little too far for a day trip.