Oct. 20, 2013
by Natalie Wiest
Sunday, October 20 featured the kind of a perfect day we wish happened continuously in Texas: sunny, cool (temps in the low 70s), with a moderate north wind. Thankfully, Dave Kitson and Joe Coker, Ellen Shipman and I were able to take advantage of it by paddling a segment of stream I don’t believe I’ve paddled before – Hall’s Bayou, upstream from the highway 2004 public boat ramp. We made a 10 mile out and back trip, meeting at 9:30 and returning by 3. Can’t believe I haven’t done this one before, it’s less than a half hour drive from my house and a very pretty coastal bayou with tall trees, still waters, and protection from the wind.
Here’s a view from the put-in, a young man also enjoying the day and the opportunity to fish:
This is our view upstream. Good omens, great scenery right off the bat with large numbers of scissortail flycatchers overhead and to my surprise, a nice stand of cypress trees upstream and right around the corner:
The only downer of the trip was an immature brown pelican snagged in a trot line, its bill snugged up to its neck and hardly able to move. Dave cut the line on the bird but it had only the strength to flop into the brush and we don’t know if was able to survive or not once it was untethered.
If you look at this stream on Google earth you will notice that has a forested covering along both sides for much of its upstream area. With so many of the fields around here cleared for farming, I often forget that the original cover was probably the stands of oaks and mixed forest that remain on these slender corridors. There were pine trees here in a few locations, and lots of yaupons with their red berries ripening, American beautyberry, Turk’s cap hibiscus, goldenrod and mistflower now in full bloom. Belted kingfishers flitted across the stream, and ospreys too. At one point a bald eagle soared overhead showing off its white head and tail feathers; about the same time four roseate spoonbills flew right beneath the eagle.
It appears that Ike’s fallout remains, quite a few abandoned small boats.
Towards the 5 mile mark the bayou gets considerably smaller. The locals were curious about us.
What they leave behind and perhaps other agricultural chemicals support a fairly luxurious growth of algae and aquatic plants, but it was nice to NOT be seeing water hyacinth or salvinia in these waters, at least so far. Here is what was growing:
Time to turn around and head back. This is a really lovely stream with easy access and nice sights to see. Looks like a great birdwatching candidate too, we should run more HCC trips from this location.
If you are curious to see more photos, check out my Flickr site
|The author, Natalie Wiest