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HomeNL-2012-04 Neches River

Neches River Run and Teepee Raising
Feb. 25th, 2012
Paul Woodcock



 Campers    Tents

We all met at M&B primitive campgrounds Friday night. (M and B Canoe/Kayak Rental/Repair/Shuttle Service and Primitive Campground, Mary Zaborowski Proprieter)  We had campers, tents, and some just slept in the back of pickup trucks. After a breakfast of sausage, biscuits, gravy and eggs, we departed for the shuttle where we met Mike Pollard.

Forest roads
  Clear cut 
We could not get to the bridge-to-nowhere because the Forest Department had closed the road.  We decided to put in at the Cherokee Hunt Club.  None of the minor roads are marked in any way, but Mary Z. knew the way.   It was sad to see the clear-cut as this was a beautiful drive.



 Put-in ledge
   Path on bank

The dirt boat ramp had washed away but there was a ledge that was difficult but not impossible.  Everyone decided to drag their boats down the bank.  I decided to line my boat following a narrow path on the bank.  It looked solid and secure but about half-way down the path I slipped and fell down the three foot vertical bank into the water.  It had warmed up from the 30 degrees from the night before, but it still was a shock hitting the cold water.  I could not get up the bank and as my life jacket was keeping my torso dry I did not want to swim to the others.  John saw my problem and started up the path to help me out.  He started to slip on the path and grabbed some vegetation and crawled and clawed to where he could get a hold of my painter to give me support while I climbed up the bank.  Another mini-adventure for Paul. 

Strong current

When I had looked at google maps I thought this would be a very short paddle and decided to paddle upstream to make it a longer trip. Not realizing that I had used the wrong unmarked road as the starting point.  The current was strong and as it narrowed around a strainer I could not push any further upstream without more effort than I wanted to extend.   We turned back downstream and mostly drifted with the current with very little paddling.  After a short break on the sand bank we started downstream only to find a series of log jams.  Some we climbed over.  Some we portaged.  Some we were able to paddle over.



Climbing over

Dancing over


 What now?



As we continued to paddle everyone started to ask  “Are we there yet?"  Finally we got to the take-out and it was another straight up the bank.  John Melton and I decided to go to the bridge to get to an easier takeout but because of the muddy road we had to portage our boats to the highway.  It turned out to be a 12-mile trip.   We got back to the campground where Mary had some beans and cornbread.   Tired and hungry we ate, and sat around the campfire.

 The teepee

The next morning we decided to raise the tepee.  There were 25 pages of directions and with a number of bachelor and masters degrees it took us over four hours to complete, but it gave us a great since of accomplishment.  Mary served us some of her stew and we departed for home. 

If you want to see a complete series of pictures of the trip and the tepee raising, I have posted pictures on the web sight under "photos".  Links, here:

Neches Mini-Adventure
Raising the Teepee

A special thank to Mary Zaborowski for the free camping and the great food. 

the earth is my mother.
the sky is my father
the animals are my brothers
the canoe lets me get closer to them  

 The author, Paul Woodcock