In August, Tom Douglas requested volunteer help in scouting Cypress Creek for possible inclusion as a Texas State Paddle Trail and I was happy to float/scrape along with him and several others. Tom has done yeoman’s service in pre-scouting the trail and writing up extensive directions and creating maps to guide us to the various stretches. I was able to do only segments 1 and 2, the farthest upstream, so I’ll report about them, and include the maps and driving directions for those two.
To say we “paddled” these two is a somewhat optimistic view of how we got down them. The gage that would be most helpful for these segments is at the Stuebner/Airline road crossing and it was either not functioning, or the water level was just plain too low to read, so the next downstream gage at Westfield road crossing was recording flows of only about 25 CFS; or 63.75-63.80’. Not recommended flows for ease of paddling! Considerable dragging of boats and gear was done and our poor boats are all scratched and abraded from the copious amounts of broken concrete that have been dumped in the stream to “improve” its ability to withstand erosion (I guess). As an example, here is a photo of Tom running the first drop at Jones Road, beginning Segment 2:
Four of us ran Segment 1: Tom and myself, Dave Kitson and Rene Halbardier. For segment 2, Joe Coker took Rene’s place for another foursome. Segment 1 was run on August 30; Segment 2 on September 3, and yes, it was plenty hot for being on the water.
We were able to float most of the distance so it wasn’t all dragging and scraping. The upper stretch in particular I enjoyed for its forest covering.
Note however, the persistent clearing of brush down to the water’s edge. Where the creek opens up this clearcut was overgrown with burdock and ragweed, not very esthetic but perhaps a great opportunity to reintroduce our native perennial grasses, and shrubs that would provide better wildlife habitat if indeed the clearcut nature is helpful to control flooding. Both segments had at least one impenetrable log jam that required dragging/pushing/pulling to get through. Neither was walkable around the edges. As you might imagine, those jams also collected floatable garbage although otherwise the segments were fairly clear of extensive trash.
Here’s Dave dragging his boat through the first segment jam:
Those jams and similar low-clearance spots would be very dangerous at high water flows, so considerable clearing of them may be in order before a formal trail could be set out. The character of the first segment would be great for nature watching and casual floating although there’s not a lot of current in it and the 7 mile stretch would likely be a bit much for novice paddlers. Segment 2 is about the same distance and similar slow flow. The outstanding quality of segment 2 is the sheer number of drainage and outflow pipes that enter it. I truly lost count of them but I’m guessing their number, for its 7 miles, must be on the order of 40. Some of the pipes or outflows are truly immense so it’s easy to understand why this stream is so well known for mega floods. Here is Joe downstream of one of those outflows, running aground on the pile of characteristic concrete rubble.
If you look very closely in this photo, just to the right of my canoe’s bow, you’ll see both rebar and a nasty-looking rake-like object projecting out of the water.
Both segments had nice places to stop and have lunch, albeit in this case with a sewage treatment plant’s runoff right next door, but the plant was likely doing its job and we had a pleasant and not malodorous waterfall next to our stop:
If I could wave my magic wand for making these segments safely runnable, I would like to see the upper segment preserved for its greenery and nature-watching. I am intrigued by the little whitewater stretches, particularly at road overpasses, of the second segment. Stuebner Airline Road’s former wooden supports create a challenging strainer right under the current new bridge. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could be removed, and an artificial whitewater course created right there? It could be designed to protect the bridge supports and there would be a fine place to view the course and to run it in canoes and kayaks and innertubes. Fun for everyone.
Attachments: Maps and driving directions for these two segments
Segment 1: Bud Hadfield Park to Jones Road:
Segment 2: Jones Road to Collins Park:
If you want to see images of the maps for the entire run, check out my primitive blog at texwiest.blogspot.com
. Sorry, I’m just learning…