Lower Oyster Creek Revisited
April 23rd, 2015
by Natalie Wiest
Dave Kitson and I decided to do another weekday paddle on Thursday, April 23. Sure do love this retirement life and ability to paddle while others toil. I was also saddened by misfortunes to several of my friends, and wanted a more serene setting for the trip, and thus selected lower Oyster Creek which I hadn’t paddled in several years. Its tall oak trees and placid flow were as I had remembered them, a great place to paddle. I’ll admit, however, to having had some second thoughts before we arrived at the takeout – so can now confirm that even with days of flooding downpours in the Houston area, this stream does not react (at least in this instance) with swift currents and flood-born debris.
Dave got a good laugh out of my navigational challenges as we searched for the Stratton Ridge Road putin, approaching from downstream and the Oyster Creek Municipal Park. We deemed the putin more challenging than we wanted at the park, so decided on the boat ramp at Stratton Ridge Road (CR226) instead. Let me admit we took the long way around; the more direct route, approaching from the south on highway 523 has this unmistakable sign if you do the same:
Ah, yes, don’t we love these potentially explosive putin locations on Gulf coast Texas?
We had the stream absolutely to ourselves, chasing three snowy egrets for some distance on the way south.
The banks are lined with huge liveoaks, dripping with Spanish moss, and in many places open pastureland on the opposite bank.
A nice side channel announced itself partway along our out-and-back route. Its water was dark with the tannin stains of a deepwater swamp, made me think of a black and tan drink, contrasted to the light brown color of the main channel. Here is Dave setting off down that side channel:
I like this photo even better that Dave took of me paddling that same channel:
We didn’t get as far downstream as the park, but still did a 10 mile roundtrip paddle. Here is the track Dave did of our path. Like many of our favorite streams you can see it is meandering, almost the shape of a ram’s horn – no wonder we were trending so much east/west and not as much north/south as I had imagined.
The starting point on Stratton Ridge Road/CR226 is at upper left in the track, you can see our side trip with the east/west short leg. This is a very pretty and serene paddle, sure to be paddleable most of the year.
|The author, Natalie Wiest