These are the activities of the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park from October 2015 through March Trails Day 2017

To see the activities of the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park from to January 2014 to July 2014 (backwards) and a few added posts from 2013, go to http://friendsofcoloradobend.wordpress.com/

To see the activities of the Friends of CBSP from September 2014 to September 2015, go to http://friendsofcoloradobend2.wordpress.com/

To see the beginnings of the trail building project of the Friends of CBSP from Memorial Day 2007 to December 2013, go to https://friendsofcoloradobendarchives.wordpress.com/

To get information on the annual Trails Day in the spring, check out: https://friendsofcoloradobend3.wordpress.com/colorado-bend-state-parks-trails-day-and-bluegrass-jamshow-march-28-2015/

The Friends of Colorado Bend State Park welcomes all volunteers!  If you would like to get in on the trail building project or other volunteer opportunities at the park, email trailbuilding@aol.com  for information.  

MARCH 25, 2017 – FRIENDS OF CBSP TRAILS DAY AND BLUEGRASS JAM/SHOW

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The weather was PERFECT for holding an outdoor event!  People came from all over the place to enjoy all the fun the park has to offer and indulge in a little bluegrass music.   There were 35 volunteers of various ages who helped lead tours, do trail maintenance, give workshops and concerts, and generally help out.

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Trail Maintenance

The Friends of Colorado Bend State Park started the process of building new trails at the park in 2007.  In addition to the new trails, they have also constructed bridges and the overlook deck known as Rusty’s Roost, put up new trail signs, and done miscellaneous other projects.  This particular day the trail maintenance crew worked on Spicewood Canyon and Spicewood Springs Trails.  Some of the trail workers are pictured below.

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Along with doing trail work, the volunteers also helped hikers with their hiking routes and enjoyed the beauty along the trail.

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There were two guided hikes to Gorman Falls in the morning led by volunteers.  A number of park visitors took advantage of the shorter hiking distance these tours had to offer.

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This was a great day to see beautiful Gorman Falls!

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In addition to the regular cave tours that are offered every weekend at the park, the Friends group offered an introductory cave trip that didn’t involve any crawling or getting dirty. Below are the in-cave and ‘after’ pictures of a group that took advantage of this trip.

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Photographer and park volunteer, John Keever, set up a photography booth in the main part of the park for people to enjoy and get pointers.  Here John (left) is visiting with another photographer.

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Below left:  One of John’s photographs.  Below right and bottom: Photographs taken by Svenja Atchley, one of our volunteers who got some great pointers from John.

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Below: More photographs by John taken at Colorado Bend.

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The Bluegrass Jam started in the morning, paused for the 2-hour show in the afternoon, and then started again after the show.

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During the early jam, Darla from Dueling Hearts found a friend!

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This was too cute to pass up!  First Picture:  Please?  Second Picture:  Thank You!!

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While some were playing their instruments, others were playing on the landscape!

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At 2:00, the president of the Friends group got up and introduced Lonesome Canyon, a bluegrass band whose oldest member is 17 and youngest member is 10!

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Lonesome Canyon put on a great show for the park visitors!

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Next up was Dueling Hearts, a bluegrass band who has been together for 6 years, have two CDs available, and have volunteered for Colorado Bend State Park special events for a number of years.

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As you can see by these pictures, a lot of people enjoyed the amphitheatre area of the park!

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The Archery Workshop went great!

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Some of our volunteers took a hike the next day and came away with some nice pictures of some great places to be at Colorado Bend SP.  This is the overlook deck and the view both directions from it.  This is the only place in the park that you can see both up and down river like this!

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This cool walkway along a ledge can get a little scary!

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Closing posts:  flowers, cactus-grass(?), and the river at the main campground.

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And a great time was had by all!!

 FEBRUARY 24-26, 2017

The park had variety of things for the Friends group to work on this month.  They included: Moving Signs, Cutting Cedar Posts to be used to support signs, Cleaning Gorman Creek that flows over Gorman Falls, and Trail Inspection and Maintenance.  No problem!  There were 20 volunteers that came and it all got done!! (Two volunteers didn’t make the picture.)

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Moving Signs – This team of 3 (one took the picture) knocked this project out quickly!

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Cutting Cedar Posts to be used to support signs.  You can see in the picture above how the cedar posts are used to support trail signs.

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The park ranger that the Friends group works directly under stopped by for a quick visit.

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This crew spent the cold early morning doing trail maintenance on the Gorman-Windmill Connection.  They and others spent the afternoon working on Gorman Creek over the waterfall.

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Before and After pictures of the reroute of the creek above Gorman Falls.

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These 3 hiked 14+ miles doing trail inspection for work that needs to be done (like low hanging branches) and finding interesting things along the way… like holes in big rocks!

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A group of 8 hiked the Spicewood Canyon Trail from top to bottom doing maintenance on what they could and flagging areas that they weren’t able to work on that day.  This group had two young girls with them that did every bit as much work as the adults!

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Of course the group had to stop at some of the overlooks to enjoy the views!

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Both Trail Inspection and Maintenance groups took time out to enjoy the great trees!

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At the end of the Spicewood Canyon Trail most of the group headed for their cars, but two die-hards chose to hike up Spicewood Springs Trail and do some trail inspection and maintenance on it!  This area of the park is incredibly beautiful and worth some wet feet!

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Can you find the person walking in this picture?

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These are two of the Spicewood Canyon overlooks looking up from Spicewood Springs.  You have to look hard to find the people in the second picture, but they are there!

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The volunteers met all of their work goals on Saturday and many stayed to ‘play’ and enjoy the park on Sunday!

JANUARY 20-22, 2017

Trail Maintenance was the order of business for the January trip and 24 volunteers came for the Saturday work day.

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The group divided up into five teams.  One team put up signs in various areas of the park and four teams finished maintenance on Lemons Ridge Pass.

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There’s always fun to be had at the park after the work day.  The campfire was especially nice due to the cold night.

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During the day it was warm enough to play in the river, and of course a trip to Gorman Falls is always in order!

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Here are some good pics taken by the volunteers

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FIRST DAY HIKE – January 1, 2017

Many of the Texas State Parks had first day hikes and Colorado Bend was no exception.  Ranger Jason planned and led the hike at CBSP and was assisted by one of the park hosts and two volunteers from the Friends group.  With the hike being longer this year (5.5 miles), there was a question as to how many would show up.  There was no need to worry.  There were plenty of folks ready for a longer hike!

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Jason gave an introduction to the park and to the hike in the parking lot and then led the way to Cedar Chopper Loop.

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At the intersection of Cedar Chopper Loop and Dogleg Canyon Trail, the group took the trail to Dogleg Canyon.

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When The Friends of CBSP built this trail a number of years ago, the spot pictured below was especially challenging; however, they were successful in the end and the trail has even been ridden by mountain bikers!

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The first picture below is where the group stood to view Dogleg Canyon.  The second picture is of Dogleg Canyon.

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Two things at once!  Posing in front of the Canyon and getting a selfie with the Canyon!

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At one of the stops, the president of the Friends of CBSP gave information about what the group does and explained that they welcome ANYONE who wants to be a part and volunteer to build/maintain trails or offer other services to the park.  That information is at the top of this page.

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Switchbacks

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Nearing the merge with the River Trail.

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The River Trail has some interesting things to see, such as this “Deer Tree” that always grabs peoples’ attention when they notice it!

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The River Trail goes over Gorman Cave where there is information posted about why the cave is currently closed.

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You can see the entrance of the cave in this picture.

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Beautiful River View

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At the end of the River Trail is a very long, steep hill.  Rest stops are sometimes called for!

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The hike to Gorman Falls isn’t always easy, but its WORTH IT!!

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Viewing Area, Gorman Falls side view, Gorman Falls front view, Closeup

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Steps that start the climb out… and the climb out…

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The last leg of the hike was to take the Old Gorman Road back to Cedar Chopper Loop and the parking lot.  Some of the hikers decided a snack would be nice about halfway up Old Gorman Road.

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This was an excellent hike!  Colorado Bend SP will be there all year, so go check out the excellent hiking/biking trails that are available there!

DECEMBER 17, 2016

Saturday, December 17th was a great day to spend out-of-doors with the temperature being in the 70’s and hitting 81 degrees!  Nine volunteers met at 8:30 am to do some trail maintenance on the Gorman Falls Trail and worked about 6 hours.  They were all hit with the forcasted Arctic Blast and saw the temperature drop 50 degrees by the evening!

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The group used rock rakes, rogues, a hand saw, snippers, a chain saw, a rock bar, and a sledge hammer to improve the trail.

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One of our volunteers (Cheryl) got this great picture of a turtle on a log in Gorman Creek.

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There were a lot of visitors at Gorman Falls that day who were enjoying the beauty and the nice weather!

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Photos below taken by professional photographer John Keefer.

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SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

A large crew arrived early to work on trail maintenance.  Three of the crew (shown here with Ranger Jason) worked on weedeating parts of the River Trail that had grown up substantially and the rest of the crew worked on the Spicewood Springs and Spicewood Canyon Trails.

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This was the Friends Group’s first time to see the new signs.  VERY NICE!!!

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With the weather being so warm, the butterflies were abundant and one Water Moccasin was spotted in the Colorado River.

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After working on the trails, some enjoyed a swim in a shallow pool on Spicewood Springs Trail and others enjoyed other areas of the park.

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SEPTEMBER 11, 2016-Spicewood Springs/Canyon Loop  September is still plenty warm!  Come out and play!

Spicewood Springs Trail – The Swimming Hole

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Another nice pool

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More places along the Spicewood Springs Trail.

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Views from Spicewood Canyon Trail

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JUNE 19,  2016

So what does Gorman Falls look like so far this summer?  VERY NICE!!  (Click on the pictures for a larger view.)

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The Gorman Spring Trail is very nice as well!

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Below is Gorman Spring where Gorman Falls starts.

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APRIL 23, 2016 DAY TRIP

The threat of rain all around the weekend except for Saturday prompted the 10 April Volunteers to make a Saturday Day Trip.

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The group broke up into 3 work crews.  Four of the volunteers worked on putting large stepping stones on the Gorman Springs Creek Crossings using a ‘sled’ to move the rocks.  The finished product was impressive!

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Four of the volunteers cut blind corners from the Gorman Falls parking area gate to the Conference Center parking area.  Two are pictured below.

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The last two volunteers made their way to areas of the Gorman Falls Trail where hiking had made the rocks ‘grow’ and worked on breaking up the rocks in the trail with sledge hammers and a rock bar.

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Nice sights of the day:

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This was the last official trip to work on trails for this season due to the snakes and heat of the summer months.  The Trails Project will start up again in September 2016.

MARCH 25-26, 2016 – TEXANS for STATE PARKS MEETINGS AT LAKE BROWNWOOD STATE PARK

Five members of the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park attended the Texans for State Parks meetings on March 25-26 at Lake Brownwood SP.  TfSP is an amazing resource for Friends groups and any supporters of Texas State Parks.  (Photo L to R:  Jack, Cheryl, Denise, Dawn, Alvis)

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The meetings were held in an old CCC building… a very nice old building!

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Friday night was “Brag Night” where a number of Friends groups were able to get up and brag about their park and activities.  Of course the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park got in on this and bragged about the Friends of Colorado Bend SP Trails Day & Bluegrass Jam, trail work, and fundraising.  Over the years, the Friends group has purchased the following items (among others) for the Park:  10 Conference Tables, Wildland Firefighter Gear, Confined Space Blower Hose, Parade Float Supplies, Lights for Fish Cleaning Station, Materials for Bridges and the Observation Deck, Flags and Vulture Deterrents for the Observation Deck, Various Accessories for the Conference Center,  a Shredder, Helmets for Cave Tours, 2 Port-a-Pots, Shelters for over the Picnic Tables when large trees died in the drought, TV for the office to show current events and a slide show, Emergency Repair for the Front Gate, and Custom Frames for high quality pictures that were donated to the park.

Saturday morning kicked off with a Welcome from John Holland, Lake Brownwood SP Superintendent and an overview by John Gosdin, President of Texans for State Parks.

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Special Speakers included Brent Leisure, Director of Texas State Parks, Audrey Muntz, Statewide Volunteer Program Manager for Texas State Parks, and Brian Trusty, Chair of the State Parks Advisory Committee.

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There were also discussion/question and answer times led by TfSP Board Members and Others.

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Lunch was catered fried fish and chicken fingers, sides, and 2 kinds of cobbler by a local restaurant.  It was delicious!

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In the awards ceremony at the end of the day, the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park received the Distinguished Service Award!  All 4 of us who were still at the meeting went up to accept the award from John Gosdin.

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Lake Brownwood State Park is an amazing place!  There are more CCC buildings there than our group had ever seen anywhere else and the views were great!  Judging from the log entries, one of the cabins seemed to be used a lot as a honeymoon or anniversary cabin.

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Back Sunrise

The Lakeside Trail was a very enjoyable hike with nice views of the lake, various CCC additions, a critter here and there, and cacti.

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The CCC Grand Stairway is amazing and too big to get one picture of on land.  Here are bits and pieces of it.

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An early morning drive was colorful and included a large number of little ducks.

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Lake Brownwood State Park was a very nice place for the Friends of CBSP to visit!

MARCH 19, 2016 – THE FRIENDS OF COLORADO BEND STATE PARK TRAILS DAY AND BLUEGRASS JAM/SHOW SPECIAL EVENT!

Flyers were put up, Facebook posts were made, and advertising was done through Texas Parks & Wildlife Channels.  A big whiteboard was put up outside the office with the schedule on it.

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Those who were there for Spring Break the week prior to the event had such wonderful weather that some even went swimming!  This wonderful weather changed overnight and Saturday arrived cold and windy.  The number of participants dropped from previous years, but those who came had a great time!

Volunteers came to help out with leading tours and music throughout the day.

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The first event of the day was the Introduction to Trail Building that met at the Gorman Falls parking lot at 8:45 am.   Those who came learned how trails are built and worked on rerouting some sections of Gorman Falls Trail.  The leader had marked the reroute the day before so everyone was able to get to work right away.

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The first Gorman Falls/Gorman Spring Tour started at 9:00 am, but no one wanted to leave their campfire that soon!  The 11:00 am tour turned out better (below) and the guide even added an extra 2:00 impromptu tour!

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With all the rain lately, Gorman Falls was extra-beautiful!

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The water crossings to Gorman Spring were a little tricky with higher water, but those who went had a good time.

The Tinaja Tour was supposed to start at 10:00 am and there were a number of folks who had planned to come… until the weather changed!  This is what they missed!  Chances are they did the hike on their own once it warmed up a bit.

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The bluegrass jam was supposed to start at 10:00 am at the amphitheater, but it was so cold and windy that no one showed up until noon!  The moved the cars around to block the wind and enjoyed their jam until the concerts started.

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Two fun bluegrass bands played concerts from 2:00-4:00 pm.  The stage was right in the wind, so they opted to set up on the hill behind instead for sound purposes as well as temperature.

Red Bluff Crossing, a family band who lives in the area, gave a wonderful concert followed by the fairly well known (in bluegrass circles) Dueling Hearts band.

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There was supposed to be archery and climbing/rappelling that afternoon, but the wind was so strong that the archery had to be cancelled.  The climbing/rappelling was a big hit though, especially since it had warmed up a bit!

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After trying out the ‘easy’ side, some moved on to the harder side.

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Cave Tours were given throughout the day and people of all ages took advantage of that!

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Along with all of the above activities, there was also a Moonlight Hike with a park ranger.  A variety of self-guided activities like hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and fishing were also available.

THIS IS THE REPORT ON THE FEBRUARY 26-28, 2016 FRIENDS OF COLORADO BEND SP VOLUNTEER WEEKEND.

One of our volunteers got a picture of a local herd at the low water crossing on the way to the park.

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Cows weren’t the only critters seen this weekend.  The park was full of butterflies, and if you were in the right place at the right time, you might spot deer, an armadillo or other creatures!

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The fish were biting and people were lined up on the banks and in kayaks to catch them!

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Twenty volunteers of all ages came out to work on trails.  Some made a day trip.  Some camped the whole weekend!

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6Aaron1 6Alvis1 6Denise2

6Cheryl   6Angie   6Dawn1

6James  6Jeep1  6Jessica

6Max2  6NicoleBySvenja  6Nikki

6Rickey 6Rusty2 6Sam2

6Sarah1 6Svenja1 6Tracy2

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Teamwork!

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One of our campers built and lit a campfire using only one match!

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Everyone enjoyed that campfire!

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In their free time, some went caving and some enjoyed the beauty of the park topside!

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THIS IS THE REPORT ON THE JANUARY 15-17, 2016 FRIENDS OF COLORADO BEND SP VOLUNTEER WEEKEND.

There was so much to do this particular weekend that it took the leaders and rangers awhile to figure out what needed to be done first!  In the end, it was decided that the first priority was to get the cable back up at Gorman Falls.  One end of the cable that lets visitors know where the boundaries are had come loose and fallen over the edge.  On Friday, several volunteers and a ranger hiked to Gorman Falls to make a plan.

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They retrieved the cable and determined where it needed to be placed.

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Gorman Falls is still a wonderful sight to be seen!

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Saturday morning the weekend group of volunteers first went to the Overlook Deck.

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When the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park built the deck last year, they never imagined that it would be a big draw for buzzards!  The plan was to try to wash the buzzard poop off of the railings and set up mounts to string wire on so that the buzzards wouldn’t have anything big enough to roost on.

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No matter how grim the task, the view of Gorman Falls from the deck is awesome!

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The next task was to do some trimming on a trail.

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There are plans in the making to start using the park land across the river.  On Sunday, five volunteers kayaked across to do some recon on the area.

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There were only two kayaks, so they tied a rope to one and once the person had crossed, they pulled it back for the next person to use.  This worked pretty well for the most part.  The river was moving more than normal and the rope tended to work as an anchor, but everyone made it across both ways and the recon went well.

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FIRST DAY HIKE OF 2016

 The First Day Hike of 2016 at Colorado Bend State Park was a tremendous success with 76 participants PLUS park staff and volunteers!  The Gorman Falls parking area was full to overflowing!

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Ranger Jason gave an overview of the hike just before hitting the trail for the Falls.

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Several stops for information were made on the hike to the Falls.

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About halfway down is a nice view through what one of our volunteers calls the “picture window” which involves the limbs of a cedar tree that frames the view like a picture.

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The last part of the hike is steep and a handline is available for safety.

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This is the first view of Gorman Falls

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The view from the observation deck is awesome!

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Most of those on this First Day Guided Hike got in on this picture.  What a great place to spend the first day of a new year!!

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THIS IS THE REPORT ON THE DECEMBER 18-20, 2015 FRIENDS OF CBSP VOLUNTEER WEEKEND.

An overlook off of the main park road had gotten grown up enough that the view was hindered.  Three volunteers and a ranger started opening it up on Friday afternoon before the rest of the crew got there.  There was a very nice sunset as they finished for the day.

1-Rusty 1-Jason

1-Dawn 1-Alvis

1-Sunset

The rest of the crew arrived and were ready to get to work on Saturday morning.

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2-Cheryl1 2-Chottie2

2-Corkie 2-Dawn&Rusty

2-Denise 2-Erica

2-Jessica2 2-Rebecca2

2-RustyBySvenja 2-Svenja

2-Tracy1 2-Wayne1

3-Rebecca&Erica 3-Svenja&Tracy

3-Cheryl&Denise

3-GroupWorking

Here are the Before/After shots.  The view was definitely improved!

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4-OverlookOnSaturdayWhenFinished

There was plenty of opportunity to see the park with hiking, biking, caving, and a bit of trail work.

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6-BikingByTracy 6-Cavers

One of our hikers found an interesting “footprint” in a rock!

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This centipede was spotted by the trail crew.

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Parting Shots by Svenja:  Changing Leaves and a Foggy Morning!

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GORMAN FALLS WAS BEAUTIFUL ON DECEMBER 13, 2015!  NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO GO SEE THE FALLS!

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THIS IS THE REPORT ON THE NOVEMBER 20-22, 2015 TRAIL BUILDING WEEKEND

Friday night before the norther blew in was a perfect time to have a campfire and a great way to start our trail building weekend!

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The goal for this weekend was to finish the Tie Slide Trail reroute.  Thanks to 19 volunteers of all ages, the goal was accomplished!

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2-Alvis2  2-Annabelle

2-Angie3  2-Buddy1

2-Carmencita1 2-Cheryl1

2-Dawn 2-Eddy2

2-Erica 2-Fiona

2-Jeep1 2-Liza

2-Rebecca 2-Rusty2

2-Sam&HoleInRock 2-Sarah2

2-Trent2 2-Wayne1

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This is a good project for the whole family!  Below are a mother and daughter, and a father and son.  We also had a family of 6 who came and helped out!

3-Cheryl&Rebecca1 3-Eddie&Buddy

Before and After pictures are always fun to check out.

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Below are Before, During and After pictures of a couple of sections of trail.

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Several of our trail builders are also cave guides at the park so there was a lot of caving that went on in our free time.

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9-Entrance-Cheryl2 9-Entrance-Denise

10-Cicurina1 10-Cicurina2

10-Cicurina3 10-Cicurina4

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Some chose to see the beauty of Colorado Bend SP above the ground and hiked the Tinaja Trail with its great views.  The tinaja was looking really great!

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11-Tinaja,Wayne,Carmencita

11-Tinaja

This trail builder was one who worked this spot into a hikable and ridable trail.  This is the ‘after’ shot.  The ‘before’ shot is below this picture.

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THIS IS THE REPORT ON THE OCTOBER 16-18, 2015 TRAIL BUILDING WEEKEND

This was our first time back to the park for a trail building weekend after our summer break.  We had 15 volunteers, including some brand new folks!  We always welcome new trail builders!  (Click on the pictures to make them larger.)

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There were deer and armadillos everywhere this particular weekend!

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Saturday morning most of the group started the work day by visiting the new overlook deck.

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This was the first time Rusty got to see that it was named after him!  He was pretty surprised!

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The view was great as usual!

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We left our professional painter to paint the floor of the deck with paint that gives better traction than the normal type of paint.  He was finished in a flash and out helping build trail shortly afterward!

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After a short orientation on trail building, the group got started.

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6-Angelica 6-Beverly

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6-Bob 6-Charlotte

6-Chris2 6-Corky

6-Dawn2

6-Garry 6-Rickey

6-James&CritterRockBySvenja

6-Rusty 6-Svenja

This cave guide and these two seniors weren’t scared off by hard work!  Of course, everyone of every age is welcome to volunteer for the project and there are a lot less strenuous things available to do when building trail!

7-Cheryl&Corky2BySvenja 7-Corky&Bob1

Most volunteers worked in small groups and visited while working.

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7-GroupWorkingBySvenja 7-James,Chris,Garry

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7-JamesSmashinRocks 7-Rickey&Beverly

7-Svenja,Angelica,Charlotte 8-CuttingStumps

The Critter-rock that one of the volunteers found was placed on a large rock with a small tinaja on the side of the trail.  When hiking Tie Slide Trail, look for this feature!

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Here are some Before/After shots of the trail work that day.  The first set is of a trail that had two very large stumps at the far end that were removed and the trail itself was cleaned up.

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The cacti had to go… but it wasn’t done with a chain saw!  He just happened to be standing there when the picture was taken!

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The groomers didn’t get to this part of the trail yet, but you can certainly see a difference after the rough cut!

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Another rough cut that the groomers will get to next time.

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It wasn’t all work and no play!  There was plenty of time for mountain biking, hiking the trails and along the river, and seeing some of the great things that Colorado Bend State Park has to offer!  A few even did a little rope work!

14-Zach

15-Colorado River Crossing1

15-Colorado River4

14-Alvis4 14-Cheryl&Angie

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