It is hard to imagine now in the midst of this drought, but not long ago (2002) a huge flood of the Guadalupe River occurred in Texas. Canyon Lake overflowed its banks and raced downstream.

As it raged, it cut a new gorge into the limestone on one side of Canyon Lake. The area is now called Canyon Gorge and people (over 7 years old and ready for a slightly more rugged hike) can go on a guided hike through it.

There are freshly exposed dinosaur footprints and fossils all over the gorge. In one spot, there were so many fossils that the kids could scoop up handfuls of them (but the fossils must remain in the gorge, NO collecting is allowed.)

The AFiN families with kids over 7 years old met in the parking area of Canyon Gorge on a surprisingly chilly morning for April in Texas. Just while we were waiting for everyone to arrive, we found a stunning diversity of wildlife, especially considering the drought we are in.

We found a salamander, beautiful insects, a bright red caterpillar, and a walking stick. While we stood under a grove of oak trees, we looked up at a hummingbird flying around. We watched her for a little while and then she flew into a tree and disappeared. I climbed up on the table to try to find her, and unbelieveably, she was sitting in her nest, completely camouflaged. I have always wanted to see a hummingbird sitting in her tiny nest. The kids all took turns silently climbing up onto the table to get a peek at her without disturbing her.

A few minutes later, already feeling like we had had an incredible day in nature, we started on our hike. As we walked through the gorge, we learned about the flood, the humongous rocks it moved, and the geology of the newly exposed limestone. We learned about how limestone works with our aquifers by our guide pouring water through the rock and asking us to look for where it came back out. We learned about the dinosaurs that left footprints in the area. And we learned about the wide variety of coastal creatures that left their fossils behind. Right at the end of the hike, there was a small wall of muddy limestone absolutely filled with fossils.

We stayed for a little while looking at the diversity of sea creatures that lived here a long time ago. The parents and kids took pictures to remember the fossils instead of removing them from the Gorge. hikingCanyon Gorge Then we walked out of the gorge and headed back to Austin. If you would like to visit the gorge, you can schedule a tour at canyongorge.org.

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