I had reservations at Colorado Bend State Park for three nights but mother nature had other plans. I spent the night at my brother’s house to break up the five-hour drive from home and to spend time with my nephew. I may have accidentally spent too much time with their cat instead but I’m going to make a conscious effort to try to pay more attention to the kiddo next time. There was a big storm that night and a tornado warning the next morning. I’ve pushed my luck in the past and I wasn’t about to do the same this time. Nobody wants to be that person that literally gets struck by lightning twice so I stayed put. There was a break in the weather later in the morning so I made my way to the park. I was prepared to hike in the rain and get myself muddy but I never thought about the possibility that I might not even be able to make it to the park at all. The only road that leads to the entrance was flooded and flowing pretty quickly. A few trucks and SUVs were able to make it across safely but nobody in a sedan, like myself, was brave enough to be the guinea pig of the day. I waited for about 20 minutes just to see if the water would go down but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen any time soon.
When I grabbed my phone to call the park, I found a missed call and voicemail from them cancelling my reservation and informing me that they were closing the park entirely for the day. I decided to go into town for lunch. Maybe I could come up with a new plan while I ate… maybe the plan would include a way to inception my husband into buying me a jeep. While I was messing around with my maps on my phone I noticed that Enchanted Rock SNA was only about an hour away. I crossed my fingers for wildflowers and headed in that direction.
Enchanted Rock SNA
I got there in the afternoon and headed up the Loop Trail to the Walnut Springs Primitive Camping Area. I’ve been there a few times but always camped in the walk-in area so at least the camping area would be new. Turned out the hiking would be new to me as well. We tend to go in the winter because we enjoy fewer people around. I’ve never been when there were so many wildflowers around. It was beautiful. It was cloudy but the lighting made for some decent shots of cactus blooms. I took my time since I knew I didn’t have far to go. I could hear some people at the campsite but never saw them. I did see lots of rabbits however. As far as campsite infestations go, it was definitely one of the cutest. There was a trail behind my tent that I assumed was what I would describe as a “poop trail” but I found out later that it led to a nice slab of rock with a great view of Enchanted Rock and Little Rock. I watched the sunset from up on the Enchanted Rock summit a year ago when Pathfinder and Blackout moved to Texas. I can’t believe that was a year ago! I started to tear up and made a plan to wake up early in the morning so I could watch the sunrise from this new spot. I could hear thunder off in the distance all night but it never rained where I was and I was grateful.
I woke up early, as planned, wrapped myself up in my quilt, walked over to the rock, and watched the sunrise. It’s something I wish I did more often. It rarely happens that I can make myself get up that early, but when it does happen, it always ends up being worth it. As soon as the sun came out, I went back to bed. People don’t change overnight, guys! When I woke up the second time, I packed up, and headed out. I chose to go down the Echo Canyon Trail instead of back the way I came. I walked through the Moss Lake camping area just to check it out for next time. It looked nice too but I think I’d rather have the view from Walnut Springs. When I got close to the Summit Trail I struggled with whether or not to go up there. I decided in the end that I’ve already been up there and I was getting anxious to get back over to Colorado Bend. It is definitely worth checking out if you’ve never been up there but I just wanted to get on the road again.
I’m trying to get better at identifying plants and animals on my hikes but I’d appreciate the help from anyone interested. Please feel free to let me know if I’ve captioned something incorrectly or let me know the names of ones that are blank. I tried to pick some of them out of this little field guide I have but not everything is in there. They’re actually pretty neat. So far, I have Wildflowers of Central Texas, Tracks Scats and Signs of Texas Wildlife, and Spiders of Texas. They are waterproof and sort of large folding brochure size to give you an idea of how big they are. You can get them from Quick Reference Publishing via their links to online retailers but I found mine at HEB (a Texas grocery) and a Texas State Park gift shop. Looking through them is kinda cool when you’re just hanging out at camp at the end of the day. I know I could just Google stuff but something about the tactile experience of these little guides is satisfying for some reason. I totally recommend them or something similar.