It has been over two years since I heard about (and have started dreaming about) Hamilton Pool. Nestled into our beautiful Texas hill country, it seemed like such an incredible little oasis. But I let that first summer slip by. Disappointed but curious, I went ahead and just planned on a day of hiking and exploring around the area during the winter. It lived up to the hype… and was just as beautiful as every picture I had seen. But then, what did I do? I let last summer fill up with other activities, I didn’t plan far enough ahead, and we missed our chance at getting one of those coveted reservations (that are now required during the busy summer season).
So I planned early this year. I was on their website in June. I paid the $11 for their reservation system and chose the 9:00 to 1:00 time block for this past Tuesday.
The morning of, I was up at 6:00. I felt like I was making good time in getting myself ready, making the boys’ breakfast, and beginning to pack everything we’d need. When the boys finally arose, they slowed me down. And I swear time sped up. We didn’t leave Boerne until 8:00, so we didn’t get to the park until about 9:30. By the time everyone stopped at the restrooms, we blew up our tube, and made our way down the .25-mile trail, we had completely lost the first hour of our time there. But…
After finding a great spot for our stuff (way over on the shaded side of the shore), we headed straight into the “pool.” We spent the first several minutes adjusting to the cool water and watching the HUGE catfish that swam around our ankles.
Then Evan plopped himself into his tube. We moved out of the little shallow area (straight into the 25-foot deep spots). And then Ben and I proceeded to push him all around the pool, to and away from all the waterfalls, under the cold splashes of fresh river water, all around the rocks that surrounded the grotto. We took pictures and video. Swam until hearts were pumping. We studied the plants and ferns growing all over the rocks and cavern walls and ceiling. We had so much fun!
It ended up getting pretty packed with people. But, I floated on my back a few times. With ears under the water, the sounds changed from voices, yelling, and laughter… to sounds of water movement and the waterfalls crashing into the pool. With eyes closed, I was able to catch my breath and relax. And every time I opened my eyes again, my breath was taken away by the gorgeous ceilings of the grotto against the beautiful blue Texas sky! It really was like being in another world!
(My mom texted me at some point to see what I thought of the place. My reply was simply “magical.” She asked, “Unicorns? Fairies? Rainbows?” Well, of course not! But I said, “yes.”) 😉
So, 12:00 came. And lots of people started packing up and leaving. 12:30 came. And the park attendant was there to help round up the rest of us…and send us on our ways. So we gathered our things and made the uphill, uneven .25-mile trek back to the truck. The awesome thing about it, we had gotten so cooled by the water temperature, walking in the heat of the day was no problem! It was actually quite comfortable.
So all in all, we had an amazing time! We never had to apply sunscreen, because we were shaded by the grotto overhang almost the entire time. No one slipped on a wet rock or got hurt. No one was embarrassed to be seen with me. The one float that we carried in was perfect for us. No one missed the lunch that I didn’t have time to pack. (But there really was no time to eat. And stopping at The Pizza Cave on our way home made the boys perfectly happy.) And if asked, the boys will tell you that the place is gorgeous and that they had a great time! That’s worth all the world!
Now, my recommendations? I loved the morning times. But you sun-bathers might really enjoy the 2:00 to 6:00 time frame. Bring a camera! If you’ve got a waterproof one, do not forget it! If you want to bring several floats, get yourself a battery-operated pump. That way, you can air everything up when you get to the spot. Water sandals helped on the rocks and the first few feet in. But you’re pretty much treading water the rest of the time, and really don’t need anything. Having goggles along was great. There seemed to be plenty of life jackets for people to use, so don’t worry about that. And my only warning? The restrooms are up by the parking lot! Once you’re down to the pool, you hold it! 😉 (Please don’t tell me that people pee in the water. I’ll be blissfully happy if I pretend it doesn’t happen.)
So go! Make your reservation. Take it all in. And ENJOY… every time you TRAVEL TEXAS!!!