Friday, June 13, 2014

Texas Rainforest

Recently Skye has been having trouble falling asleep. I mentioned to her that I once read that going camping can reset your internal clock. I have to admit I had a motive. I've had my eye on a camping trip to the Colorado Bend State Park for quite awhile now.

As Skye has grown older she balks at the idea of camping but with this new information I presented to her about resetting her internal clock she thought it was a great idea. I silently wondered if in reality she just needed a little break from everyday life.

When we got there we picked our camping spot and set up. It was a beautiful, private site nestled right on the bank of the slightly rushing river and a beautiful bluff....

The only drawback to the campsite was the parking area was up a flight of steep stairs therefore I had to lug all of our equipment up and down these stairs while Toby and Skye set up the tent.....

After we got our temporary home set up, we took the short hike to the spring-fed swimming hole to cool off....

Because of the clarity of the water I could swim comfortably. Skye and I also enjoyed diving off the rock on the other side of the hole. Toby relaxed in the crisp water and Bo 'fished'.

There were also a couple of other small swimming holes and waterfalls nearby.....

After our swim we headed back to the camp for some campfire supper and quality family time.....

The chef
While Toby was prepping our supper Skye and decided we would take the small path we noticed behind our campsite down to check out the river. It was edged in really tall grass so we really couldn't see what it was that snorted and charged at us as we headed down. Screaming girls? Yes we were! Later on we were to figure out it was a deer....

After we ate we watched the deer playing and grazing through the binoculars. We also enjoyed the firefly lightening bug show at dark. I haven't seen so many lightening bugs since I was a kid! Skye caught a couple of them and we inspected their lighting technique. Skye also showed us how to make torch like she had once seen on Bear Grylls and practiced her cartwheels in the open field.....

Watching the deer in the distance

Making a torch
Although I allowed Skye to bring her Ipad mini I was a bit surprised that she spent very little to no time on it and opted to spend most of her time having fun the 'old fashioned way'.  We talked a lot and enjoyed being together as a family without the disruptions of day to day life.

As it got later into the night clouds started rolling in and we saw the first signs of lightening in the distance. I had checked the weather before we left and all was clear in the way of weather but we were in the hill country of Texas. Random rain showers are common in the hill country.

I was hoping it would pass on by, but we ended up having to throw everything into the tent and go to bed. No problem, because it was late anyway and I was thankful that the cool wind and drop in temps made for a comfy night of sleep. I don't sleep well unless I'm cool and I had been a little worried earlier in the heat of the day how well I was going to sleep.

The wind blew hard all night long and I awoke periodically with the tent sides flapping against my head. Because we had the cover on the tent I really wasn't sure if I was hearing the river flow or the wind. It kept the tent nice and cool all night long and the sound was soothing.

Next morning the storm had passed and I awoke to the sun beaming through an opening in the tent top. I really wanted to get up and begin my day but I knew there was no coffee to be found, nor was there any Internet service we were so deep in the woods...and waking the sleeping beauties that early in the morning would mean a cranky family for the rest of the day. I rolled over and feigned sleep for the next couple of hours.

Once everyone was up and moving around we packed up the car and headed a few miles up the road to take the 3 mile round trip hike to Gormon Falls.

I was looking most forward to the hike to Gormon Falls. Luckily we ate some fruit and some energy bars before our trek. We were going to need all the energy we could get.

After a very long hike through some VERY ROCKY and rough terrain you descend into an oasis. The change in scenery is sudden and extreme and the decent into the falls is VERY, VERY steep. This hike is not for the inactive types, very old, or very young.

It was like we had stepped back in time to some primeval place and time. Skye remarked that she felt like she had climbed down into the rain forest. There are no words or pictures that could ever describe how beautiful and serene this place was. It was totally worth the trek.

Along the way....

The falls.....

The first thing that greeted me as I descended down

Shhhh....Don't tell my family, but we all had so much fun on this trip that I already have our next camping destination planned for the fall.

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