Caves and Waterfalls

This week I went up to Colorado Bend State Park for some hiking and cave adventures. All of the caves in the park are closed except for guided tours, so I signed up for the tour meeting at 9:30. I left pretty early in the morning to get to the park, and I got to see a beautiful sunrise while I was driving in, as well as a ton of deer along the road heading in to the park. It was a really pretty drive in to the park.

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I didn’t think that I would have time to hike before the cave tour, and I did not want to be late for that, so I just did a little bit of exploring and looking at the river near the visitor’s center. The river is pretty peaceful and gentle flowing in the park, and it looked like you could rent kayaks or take out boats or tubes along the river. It was a pretty chilly morning, and I’m not a huge water person so I just walked along the banks and enjoyed the view.

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The caving tour was really neat. The guide gave us a ton of information along the walk to the cave and as we were going in. The first 15 minutes or so in the cave was guided, and she showed us some of the features and formations in the cave. After that, we got about 15 minutes to explore the cave on our own and ask questions about things that we were interested in. it was really neat getting to crawl around and see the different parts of the cave. Apart from a rope protecting an area of new formation, the cave was left natural and other than a few tours 4 days a week, it’s left undisturbed. I really enjoyed going on the tour and getting to explore the cave

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After the cave, came the hike that was the reason I had looked at Colorado Bend State Park in the first place: Gorman Falls. Gorman Falls is a lush waterfall that really did seem somewhat out of place in the middle of Texas. The hike was 1.5 miles one way, and it was definitely a bit strenuous. The first mile or so were uneven but mostly flat, but the last .5 mile started the descent to the waterfall. Most of the descent was just uneven rocks that required focus but weren’t too difficult. The last 200 meters or so is VERY steep and there are cables to hold onto for balance. The rocks on the last part are also pretty slick and polished from rain and people walking on them, so it was unsure footing. It took over 45 minutes to complete the hike down to the falls, but getting to the view at the end was absolutely worth it. There are some benches and a few areas to look out over the falls at the end of the trail, and it is stunning and beautiful. There are several waterfalls cascading from the cliffs above, and the whole area is covered with all kinds of greenery. It was such an unexpected oasis that completely didn’t match the rest of the area, and it was definitely worth the hike. The climb out was actually not as bad as I thought it might be. The rocks along the last part were pretty tall, so I did have to work to get up them, but after that it was a pretty easy return hike.

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This week’s trip was pretty neat, and I also got some tips for other places to visit from the guide and the other people on the cave tour. I have added them to my list of places I want to go, and I am hoping I will have time to see all of them.

Sarah

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