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HomeNL-2015-01 Cypress Creek

A Forest, Two Creeks, and a River
November 23rd, 2014
by Tom Douglas

This outing was originally scheduled for November 16, but due to weather concerns, it was postponed until November 22, and still again, to November 23. The trailing edge of a rain storm finally moved out of the area by around 2:00 on Sunday morning, and Cypress Creek crested about two hours later. After a long night of monitoring about twenty gauges that measure rainfall and stream flow, I decided that conditions on Sunday should finally be alright for the trip. The rich reward for all of this was a good flow in the creek and a bright, clear day with a high temperature of 80°. Compared with what I had seen during a scouting trip to the Cypresswood Drive put-in point on the previous Wednesday, the usual sandbar had now been transformed into a higher-elevation, but still very paddler-friendly, launch site (red oval in the photos), and a previously dry channel that runs parallel to the low-water stream bank (red arrow) now offered a safe route out into the main flow of the creek. Many thanks to Joe Coker for paddling the lead boat, based on my assurances that the side channel was unobstructed.
  
   
The Put-in on Nov 19
by Tom Dougls
   
The Put-in on Nov 23
by Joe Coker
   
Down Cypress Creek
by Linda Shead
 
Once all ten of us had gotten underway, the rest of the trip was practically a magic carpet ride through cypresses and sycamores in vivid fall color, standing out in contrast against the evergreen pines. After less than an hour’s paddling, we reached our lunch spot on a sandbar at the confluence of Cypress Creek and Spring Creek. There, we spread out a picnic blanket and explored the myriad of animal tracks, streamside plants, and small bits of petrified wood that had washed down out of Spring Creek. Now we were paddling on Spring Creek, where we took a brief detour into a small channel that carries stormwater from a neighborhood just upstream of Jesse H. Jones Park. The channel, which is lined by river birches, sycamores, palmettos, and inland sea oats, leads back to a culvert that collects innumerable “floatables,” such as plastic bottles, in between storms. One of our paddlers described his previous experience as a Master Naturalist volunteer at Jones Park, cleaning out the upstream side of this very same structure. Having just been swept entirely clean by the previous night’s rain, this small tributary gave us a memorable lesson on the need for recycling plastics. The next couple of miles down Spring Creek led through yet more beautiful forest and past the Bender Preserve, which is protected by a conservation easement. Having now reached the relatively wide-open West Fork of the San Jacinto River, we encountered some wind. But this didn’t last too long, and, all too soon, our trip down parts of two different creeks and one river was at an end.
  
 
Where the Creeks Join
by Tom Douglas
   
Down Spring Creek
by Linda Shead
 
To see more photos from the trip, check the albums that were posted by Joe Coker and David Risch.


The author, Tom Douglas