It’s been about 15 years since I’ve visited Mule Shoe Bend. I used to break up a monotonous work week, of any random long summer day, and zip through the hill country in my Honda coupe right after work to drop a line in the water for some catch and release fishing. I had found a hotbed of some kind of inedible bass that were a blast to catch. It was a favorite getaway, from a summer years ago and I wasn’t expecting a return trip to compare.
This time, I swayed through the crowded and developed hill country in a full-size van with an anxious dog that was ready to swim long ago when we passed Bull Creek. After an hour of it, I came up to the entrance booth and was greeted by the sweetest old lady on earth. I paid my camping fee, thanked her for the heads up about how my dog’s nose looks better without porcupine quills in it, then made my way to the water.
Well, I arrived to the place where the water was supposed to be, then drove an additional quarter mile to where the water is today. I literally drove right over my old fishing bank. It’s now 30 feet, probably more, above current water level. This area used to be a swollen part of the Colorado River, located between LBJ and Travis Lakes. But with a combined effect of population explosion and drought, the water part of this recreation area has become just a stagnant creek, albeit a beautiful one.
The park was mostly known for bike trails, camping, being horse friendly, and boat launching. Other than the water level, everything else about Mule Shoe Bend seemed to be the same. A few mountain bikers were bombing through the trees on the hilltop trails, about a dozen vehicles parked at rv stations, and a few people on horses along the mostly empty northern part of the bend.
Since my dog was about to explode with energy, and I sure didn’t go that far to hang out with anybody, I found a spot close to water along the north bend and called it home for the weekend.