Caving with the Kiddos

Ever since Curby and I went caving and rappelling at Colorado Bend State Park, our boys have been begging to go on a spelunking adventure of their own. They've been working on their climbing skills at a local indoor rock gym, but last week they finally had the chance to check out some of the awesome formations they have been obsessed with learning about. 

We took them to a great spot in Georgetown called Inner Space Cavern. Many kids in central Texas will at some point in their elementary school careers make a stop here (or at Natural Bridge Caverns near San Antonio). It was discovered in 1963 during drilling surveys related to the construction of an overpass on Interstate Highway 35. A portion of the overpass is actually built directly above the cave! Three different tours with varying degrees of difficulty are offered at the caverns. The Adventure Tour was perfect for our young beginners. It is an hour long excursion on a man-made, lighted path. Not exactly wild cave exploration (though you can get your fix on the four-hour Wild Cave Tour), but perfect for families or people with physical limitations. There is no crawling or climbing involved and all of the rooms are open and spacious. 

soda straw ceiling

temptation rock

During the tour, the boys were very excited to point out many examples of the formations they had seen in pictures and videos. They also enjoyed learning the names of some formations our guide showed us including soda straws, cave bacon, flowstone and the kissing column, a stalactite/stalagmite couple that will grow the last half inch needed to be considered an official column in a short 50 years. We also saw the original man-made entrance to the cave, an excavation site (the fossils and bones of more than 40 species of animals have been found inside the cave, including eleven that are now extinct!), and experienced total darkness—I’m not sure how much the boys appreciated that part! 

Beautiful example of flowstone

They did appreciate Temptation Rock. Since this cave system is considered live, or active, you are asked not touch any of the formations in the cave to minimize the risk of depositing foreign dirt or oils that might threaten the growth of a the beautiful formations.  Temptation Rock is a dead spot within the cave that the boys (and everyone else on the tour for that matter) were excited to be given permission to touch. Probably our least favorite part of the tour was getting cave kisses, a nice way of describing the droplets of water that sometimes fall right on top of your head from the cave ceiling. It can be quite surprising and cold! 

We had a great experience and for folks that are interested in exploring a little bit of the underground, Inner Space Caverns is a great place to do it. The employees were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. For more information on these amazing structures, visit the Texas Speleological Society webpage. They also have links to more of Texas’ show and wild caves. Happing Caving!

~The LIN Crew

Lake of the Moon

Campsite of the Month-Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend Entrance

The Scoop

Nestled amongst private property, Colorado Bend State Park is an absolute treasure located west of Lampasas, Texas.  The park's 5000+ acres create a great atomosphere for activities such as hiking and mountain biking (over 30 miles of trails!), fishing, paddling, climbing, swimming, birding and of course camping.  Gorman Falls is a popular destination within the park and with over 400 caves, the opportunities for underground exploration are abundant and the reason for our visit. 

Colorado Bend Campsite

What We Loved

Colorado Bend is fairly isolated and we loved that about this park.  Light and noise pollution are minimal.  The campsites, although clustered together were near bathrooms, park headquarters and situated along the Colorado River, offering a great view and calming backdrop.  We’d recommend hiking out to one of the primitive sites in the Windmill Backpacking area to fully take advantage of the remoteness of this park.

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What We'd Like To See Instead 

FOOD!  The park store here is minimal, selling only drinks, snacks, ice and firewood. With the nearest town almost 30 miles away, a more robust store would have been much appreciated. However, the minimalism of the store is in line with the park's atmosphere, so we can't really complain too much.  Procedes from purchases at the store befefit the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park, so grab a drink and some ice cream and show your support for this great park!