MAR 23

Another work trip to Austin means an opportunity to do a little camping. Somehow, we managed to schedule the trip on Easter. This was all the excuse Ted needed to bow out and it caused Dale to not be able to leave until he finished his family duties (which concluded around 1:30pm).

So, by 2 we were heading towards Bastrop. When we got there, we found the park to be surprisingly crowded. Evidently, Easter is a popular time to go to state parks. I had no idea. We set off towards the primitive camping area and along the way, encountered several day trippers. Once we got about 2 miles into the park, we stopped encountering the hikers. Maybe they knew something we didn't... because after the first two miles, the terrain doesn't vary much and you start getting the feeling you're really just lost in the woods. We did come across some hills, a couple of rock outcrops, and some "cliffs" but the rest of the places was just pine tree after pine tree. When we found the "cliffs", we decided to climb just for the hell of it. There was also a small tree that had fallen across an even smaller puddle of water that we decided to walk across a few times. Once playtime was over, it was time to head to the campsite.

Along the way, there were several ponds that apparently are the habitat of the Houston Toad. We didn't see any toads and based on the way the ponds looked, I can't blame them. All of the ponds were muddy brown and stagnant. Not very appetizing looking and certainly not some place I would want to live! So once we got to the area next to a pond we intended to camp, it was no surprise that it was also murky looking. We got our tent set up, which means it was time to get some water to make dinner. We pulled the trusty water filter out of the pack, scooped up some yummy looking pond water and hung the filter from a tree. After filling up the first water bottle, we noticed the filter was going slower than normal... and the water coming out was urine yellow. We dumped that batch and hoped that it was just working the kinks out of the filtration system. Unfortunately, as the bottle was filled, we realized it wasn't going to get any clearer. I thought, "screw it" and took a swig. At least it didn't taste like pond scum. Assuming I know what that would taste like.

At this point, the color of the water wasn't what worried us, but rather the speed at which it was coming out. It took about 45 minutes to fill half of a (18 oz) bottle. At this rate, we would never be able to do anything. When we were getting our gear together, Dale had taken out a water bottle with a built in filter and left it in the car. Which was 3.5 miles away (going the shortest route to the car). We decided to bite the bullet and go back to grab it. At this point though, it was getting dark so we had to make sure we had flashlights in hand.

We made the uneventful trip to the car and back... partially lit by the moon and by our flashlights. Running around in the dark for some reason kept reminding us of horror movies, but alas nothing scary ever jumped out to eat us. After getting back to camp, we filled up the water bottle and once filtered, it was also yellow. I guess no filter can handle the Bastrop SP ponds and make it look appetizing. But as long as you don't get sick, that's all we could ask for.

After hiking 11 miles in a few hours, we were pretty tired and passed out while sitting in front of the "campfire" (which was a lantern since they don't allow fires). The next morning, we decided we had seen just about all there was to see, so we packed up and headed for the car.

Type: Out-and-back
Trailhead: Google
Trail Map: link

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