Out for a hike at Hill Country State Natural Area, Bandera, Texas.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Hill Country State Natural Area, Bandera, Texas.

Where are they going next? Not sure!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Busy day with hot springs, caves, and waterfalls!

The tour buses began arriving at 7:00am. This is a popular spot, and especially so on holidays and long weekends. And they kept coming, all day long.

First thing we did was that I drove Sue and Roy's van down to the lower parking area before it got too busy down there. Roy would have had a tough time doing the climb up to the parking area where the rest of us are, and their vehicle can fit into a normal parking spot.

Friday evening it had been getting busy, but now there were tents everywhere. In fact by late afternoon tents and cars were taking up every available space.

Around 10:00am Ruth and I walked over with Jim to the caves. This is where the thermal river starts. It was already really busy there. We can't even begin to guess how many people are here. Somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 I would think. Who knows... maybe more.

This photo was taken at 9:30am.



Visiting the cave and waterfall area you are only allowed what you are wearing, and a towel. Cameras are allowed, but no camera cases or bags. They have lockers available for rent for a fairly expensive rate of 80 pesos for the day (and a 70 peso key deposit) and you have to empty it by 5:00pm to get your deposit back. We didn't know the rules at the time, and we weren't about to do the trek back and forth to the RVs so we rented a locker.

Once we got up there, we easily recognized why they have the rules.

Beautiful water and falls.

Just a little busy!

Jim and I went in the cave first while Ruth watched the cameras and hats. Baseball hats only are allowed in the caves, and even then it will get soaking wet. I went into the cave with our waterproof camera.

The water coming from the falls is cold water.


A lineup to get into the upper cave.

The lower cave is the water source of the hot water.

There is a hole in the roof of the cave where the hot water comes gushing out. It takes an effort to get close to it because it's a lot of pressure.

Jim, trying to get under the hot water.

He took a shot of me trying to do the same thing!

Looking back outside.

Then Jim went out, and Ruth came in.

Ruth in the cave.

You can sort of see where the hot water pours out of the ceiling.




Jim and I went up the steps to the upper cave, but it was really busy. We thought it might be a 45 minute wait to get in, so we decided to come back this morning right when it opens. There will probably be a lot of other people doing the same thing, but we think that's the best time to try.


Lineup of people trying to get into the upper cave.

From there, we walked back down the river to where Sue and Roy and Garth were sitting in the shade. It takes about a half an hour to do the walk from the cave source down to the other end of the developed area. By now it was about 11:00am and it was getting really crowded.

But it was fun. The Mexicans don't seem to mind not having any personal space. Most tents are separated by nothing more than a foot, and sometimes right side by side with very little maneuvering room to get in or out. Thousands of tents. 

But here, it is live and let live. Everybody seems to just get along and have fun.

Photo taken at 11:00am.

Every available space is taken up.



Ruth went in for a dip.



We sat and had a game of Qwirkle with Sue, Roy and Garth and then hiked up the trail and had lunch in the motorhome. By this point, the area where we had parked was crowded with vans and small buses. The large buses have to park in the huge parking area up at the top of the hill.

Busy parking area.

After lunch, we went with Bob for a hike up to the hotel area. They have their own pools there.

This pool is not so busy.


But these ones are!


Beautiful views from these pools.


Ruth, holding her hands up before going through the tunnel.

Through the tunnel, and back across the bridge.

We went back to the motorhome and got our stuff to have a shower. They seem to have enough facilities for the number of people. They've obviously been doing this for a while and they seem to have a good system. I had to wait a few minutes for a shower to become available, but otherwise it was fine. The showers were warm water, and the area was kept clean however there is nowhere to put your stuff! No shelves or hooks in your cubicle. Not even somewhere to place a bar of soap!

After that, we went down to where Sue and Roy are to have happy hour. Lots of people and tents but as I said, everybody gets along. The people right next to them were doing some cooking and even brought us over some chorizo and carne asado tacos. Nice people.

We are up early this morning to head over to the caves right when they open!

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10 comments:

  1. Boy! Every inch covered n taken advantage of!! Love color of the water... And all those hillside pools. BUT LOTS of people!!

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    1. There was rarely an inch of empty space to be found, and when someone vacated their little space another family was there to take it. It was definitely interesting to be there with all those people but it would also be neat to be there during the middle of the week when it was really quiet, maybe next time. :-)

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  2. That sounds like an experience that would be very enjoyable.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the early visit to the Cave.

    It's about time.

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    1. Yep, it was definitely an interesting experience to be there when it was so busy. Normally we don't care to be around so many people but we just put our minds into holiday weekend mode and enjoyed the experience. Next time though, we will plan for a mid week experience, which I am sure would be totally different. It would be fun to compare the two.

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  3. You better hurry home before they close all the borders

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    Replies
    1. Quite happy to be "stuck" here, and certainly not in a rush to go somewhere as unstable as the U.S. or Canada.

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  4. Too many people for me (even pre-coronavirus), but looks super fun. If we could rent out the whole place, then sure! ;-)

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    1. It was a lot of fun, especially to be there when it was a holiday weekend and see how the Mexicans celebrate and boy do they ever have a lot of fun! They really go all out and the food that they bring and cook is amazing. We could definitely learn a thing or two, and they were all so well behaved, at least what we saw anyhow. Having said that, when we return here one day in the future we will make sure to do it on a week day and not on a holiday either and I bet we would have the place almost to ourselves. :-)

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  5. Unusual for you to go 2-3 days without posting. Hope all is well. It as hell ain't in the US or Canada.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, that is unusual for us but we didn't have internet so there wasn't much that we could do about that. Nothing like keeping everyone in suspense! ;-)

      All is definitely well with the group, and thankfully it isn't crazy down here south of the border, at least not yet!

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