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HomeNL-2012-02 Xmas Buffalo Bayou


Christmas on Buffalo Bayou

 December 25th

by Harmon Everett

I told Terry I would like to paddle Buffalo Bayou on Christmas Day. She thought it would be fun. She mentioned it to her daughter. Sonya thought it would be fun, too. I sent it in as a trip to be posted.  Paul thought I was crazy.


A couple of people expressed interest, but it rained really hard the day before, and the water gage at Piney Point showed close to a thousand cfs (Cubic Feet per Second), which really isn’t good water for beginners on the Bayou. I almost canceled, but commented on the forum that I would be at the put-in looking at the Bayou at the appointed time, and make the decision then.


Christmas Day was overcast, but calm, and the gage at Piney Point was saying about 500 cfs, which is what they run the Regatta at, so I decided we could paddle it safely. Sonya introduced a really novel way to work the shuttle by parking her car at the Spaghetti Warehouse, and RUNNING from there to the put-in at Woodway and 610.  It took her a little less than an hour. Meanwhile Terry and I unpacked the boats and got ready at the put-in.


Someone had vandalized the sign at the put-in, and had cut out the map of the river.


You could tell the water level had been about 5 feet higher, as the water line on the beach under the bridge showed, and brush all along the river was swept back high along the river banks.



Boats getting



Sonya & Terry

at sign 


High water line

under bridge 


Overcast day
on the bayou


Birds were plentiful, including a great crane that kept flying ahead of us for several miles before realizing he could fly back and get behind us.


This was Sonya’s second time in a kayak, and she was a little tense for a while, but then got the hang of it, and was able to keep her boat headed downstream and above water.


There was plenty of trash along the banks of the bayou showing where the high water line was. At one place, Sonya saw a huge water rodent, almost as big as a beaver, slide into the bayou and disappear. Maybe a Nutria?



Sonya getting

used to paddling


Terry with

swept back brush


Trash showing

high water


The obvious take-out at Spaghetti Warehouse is under the Main Street Bridge, which is where we took out. I don’t think we will do that again. There were 20 or so homeless people living under the Main Street bridge, and they have obviously been using the area at the water’s edge under the bridge as an open toilet. There were piles of human feces, and the black stinking goo that coats the take-out is different than pretty much anywhere else along the Bayou.


We dragged the boats along the grass to mostly clean them off before putting them back on Terry’s Jeep and heading home for a shower. We had a great time in the “nature” part of the paddle, but the “human” encounters along the way were a vast disappointment. Merry Christmas.



under bridge


Homeless under

Main Street


All 3 boats ready

to go home



The author, 

Harmon Everett