Wilbarger Paddle Trail
A group of about 13 of us met at the FM 969 Bridge near the town of Utley, northwest of Bastrop, Texas, for a weekend paddle and camp out.
Mar. 16-17, 2013
by Terri Morgan
Once we were all launched we began the paddle downstream. The river was low but not so low that one couldn’t paddle. Trees were beginning to bud and the grasses were a beautiful emerald green. Along the way we saw many birds including Cardinals and a few Kingfishers. We visited with each other, took in the sights and soaked up all nature had to offer. We arrived at our campsite which was a nice island and everyone scurried to claim the “best spot” to call home for a night. Needless to say there were lots of rocks in certain areas so setting up in the grasses was the better choice. We were close neighbors.
After everyone got organized, some went swimming, some relaxed and visited, others went exploring. I went fishing as I had caught one fish on the way down and needed some more for the stringer. Of the three men that were fishing, one caught a keeper to add to the stringer. I got back in the kayak and headed to a cluster of boulders to find fish. Another fisherman followed but continued on upstream to try his luck. I fished the boulders and my hunch paid off, catching another keeper Guadalupe bass. I paddled around to the other side of the boulder and caught another keeper. Then I went to the next boulder and caught one there. This was in about a thirty minute time span. I could have caught more but the sun was fading and I didn’t want the guys to be cleaning my fish in the dark so I headed back to camp.
Everyone had their own meals and own way of cooking/heating them. There was pasta; corn on the cob, steaks, brats, bbq and of course, fresh fried fish. Someone shared cookies for desert. We visited half the night away and then called it a night as the wind was picking up and it was getting cooler. The wind kept us company from the time we set foot on shore until about an hour before sunrise. I had filled up two dry bags with rocks to help hold the tent down just in case. I didn’t trust the small thin tent stakes.
Morning came to the sound of turkeys coming off the roost and cows coming down to drink on the opposite shore. It was the funniest sight as there was a line (pecking order) and once one was finished it would go back up the hill and another would come down, some with calves in tow, teaching them to get in the water. They were quite entertaining.
Sunday, the group got up and got packed and took off as the trip leader had to get back to town. I took my time, fishing along the way and sightseeing. The river was more picturesque on the second half as there were more boulders and wildlife. I heard a turkey call out and a few minutes later he flew in front of me across the river. I paddled over to where he landed and gobbled back at him and he returned the favor, back and forth.
Paddling on down I came across a rock that was the only one of its kind in a cluster of other rocks. It looked like meringue on a pie. I saw a Toothache tree, more birds, nice houses, not so nice houses, a cow skeleton half way up a steep bank and all kinds of turtles. I got to Fisherman’s Park and told the last of the group that were milling about goodbye as they headed back home. It was a great weekend trip.
|The author, Terri Morgan