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Enjoying the Blessings of Simplicity; Big Bend of the Colorado

With the observed summer months coming to a close (running off of the public-school calendar,) when it comes to new camping adventures, this summer fell quite short of our initial expectations.

Our intended plans of venturing to three new national parks and embarking on two multi-day camping trips were all canceled due to a sick pup. As my dad always said; “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” With bated breath we waited for lab results and were relieved for no immediate catastrophic diagnosis. With prescriptions underway and some uncertainty still in the mix, we are crossing our fingers that our dog, Tahoe, (enthusiastically named after the lake), is fully on the mend and we hope like crazy that next summer provides the same camping opportunities so that we may carry out our initial adventures.

Although we’ve decided to hold off on making any additional travel plans until we know how the pup is doing long-term, as it stands we currently have four overnight camping trips booked between now and the month of November.

Due to the cancelations this month brought, I haven’t had any large camping trips to recap. Feeling a bit of blogging slump as a result, I figure it’s a perfect time to share one state recreation area we were able to check off our list earlier this Spring; Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area.

Upon planning our day trip to the recreation area, we knew the hiking options would be minimal, reading online that the area included a limited four miles of hiking trails throughout the park. With an early arrival to beat the promised 80+ degree temperatures and any crowds, we set out to discover the four miles of trails. Although we did manage to squeeze a little over three miles out of the recreation area, the trails were even more minimal than we anticipated.

After circling the driveways a bit, we finally found what we assumed was one possible hiking option. Ducking off the road, we trudged through sand that curved in and out of the desert landscape of tamarisk and mesquite trees. The trail we had found was part of the Big Sandy Loop trail, and although we had trail maps of the area ready at hand, the remainder of the Big Sandy Loop trail was no longer established and we were unable to find the remaining trail options. Unable to complete the anticipated hikes, we decided to get a few more steps in by wandering the campground and finding our way to the beach.

Established as part of the Nevada State Parks system in 1996, Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area contains low hills, sandy washes, bush-covered flats and patches of marshland alongside the Colorado River. Only seven miles from Laughlin, this recreation area provides a beachy getaway in the Southernmost part of Nevada. Though a perfect swimming option, the recreation area has one downfall in the fact that it sits directly opposite of Bullhead City, Arizona. This otherwise undeveloped region of desert oasis is rather picturesque with the exception of looking over the deep flowing river and staring directly at million-dollar homes. Though the houses were impressive, it does defeat the sense of escaping to nature when that’s your view from the opposite shore.

With our hiking options completed, we walked the small section of the Colorado River. I’m not sure what I was expecting, perhaps more of a desert or rock-laden river bank maybe, regardless the soft golden sand was a pleasant surprise. A blanket laid out, snacks ready for consumption, and me wasting no time to cool off a bit in the cold water, this was a pleasant beach location and a refreshing getaway for being so close to home, even if it didn’t quite fall into my classification of an escape to nature.

Since we were visiting the area on Memorial Day, we anticipated the grounds would become crowded with enthusiastic beach goers eager to enjoy the warm weather and refreshing aquatic options. That being said, we were pleasantly surprised when the crowds were minimal, leaving plenty of open sand and natural sounds of the river to enjoy.

Boats idling and being moved by the current, jet skiers capitalizing on the open water, dads competing with their kids for building the best sandcastles, and ducks gracefully floating along the river’s surface, it was nice to have the opportunity to people and bird watch and enjoy the sound of the waves.

Arriving around 9:00 a.m. and departing by noon, our trip to this river bend was nothing elaborate. Hopes of hiking aside, there were no exorbitant plans. No elaborate picnic snacks, no grandiose landscapes, no improv laps swam through the current, and yet it was a perfect and complete morning. It’s mornings like that which remind me to find appreciation in new explorations whether their unknown wonders deliver or fall flat, and to enjoy the blessing of simplicity. Although a limited area with minimal options for activities, this would definitely be an option I’d enjoy making the almost two-hour drive for and return to when the urge to jump into icy water hits.

Until then, we’ll embark on smaller escapes with Tahoe in tow until the opportunity for larger adventures presents itself once more.


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