If someone tells you Texas is just all tumbleweed and farms, ignore them. They have no idea what they are talking about.
(Okay, I’ll admit, some – most – of Texas is tumbleweed and farms . . . )
I heard about Hamilton’s Pool from a friend; she had gone there about a year ago with her brother. So, we all crammed into a car (1 car is just 5 dollars and if you split it, it’s barely anything) and drove the hour and a half out into the middle of nowhere. But south Texas, and truly southwest Texas, is gorgeous. Rolling hills and plunging valleys surround twisting roads. It looks like something out of a movie. I know that during the high season (or summer months) they only take reservations. We decided to go around February, so there wasn’t really a wait.
Always double check the website here before you go. I’m assuming rates, dates, and times are always subject to change. We were going to to one last time this last May, but it was closed due to heavy rains.
It’s about a 10-15 minute hike to the pool from the parking lot. And is that view worth it. Little streams of water pour over the sides of the cave from the river above. You can hike around the pool and take a dip in the inlets off to the side if you don’t mind excessive amounts of algae.
It’s also about a 3 minute swim to the other side of the lake/pond from the “beach,” which is made entirely of sharp gravel. The first time we crossed the beach barefoot all you could hear were a long string of mumbled curses. That stuff hurts. Another thing about going in February – the water is going to be extremely cold, almost like an ice bath. There was this guy in a wet suit when we got there and at first we chuckled. It can’t be that cold!?
Yes, yes it was.
The few spots where the sun did hit the water didn’t really make a difference. Staying in the water for more than a few minutes made my skin red an blotchy. But I made myself swim out there. Was it the safest thing to do? Probably not. Do I regret it? Nope.
Bring a few drinks, towels, a lot a sunscreen (the Texas sun never takes a break), and stay a while. The park offers a few more hiking trails and such, but we spent our time trying to build up enough courage to get into the icy water.
Later that day I went home and chugged water mixed with a bunch of those Vitamin C packets to make sure I didn’t get sick.