Dec. 25th, 2015
by Harmon Everett
We planned for a Christmas day paddle on the Buffalo Bayou. We wanted a short, 4 hour trip. Starting at Woodway seemed to be the best opportunity, but the Woodway put in has been closed for two years while they installed a storm drain outflow. John Bartos has been in contact with the organizations that have been coordinating the development, and they sent him an email stating it should be open for a paddle on Christmas Day. Hooray!
When we arrived, there was a park ranger there opening the gate, but she was really dubious it was open for the public, as she had been told to open it for construction workers. After some diligent discussion, and she called her supervisor, and I showed her the emails to John on my phone, she relented and let us in.
As we were leaving to do the shuttle to the Spaghetti Warehouse, a much larger group of Hashhouse Harriers showed up with their boats, and for several minutes there was a bit of a traffic jam as we were trying to leave, and they were trying to get in and park to drop off their boats.
After we returned from the shuttle, the Hashhouse Harriers were already in the water, and we waited while they left on their paddle trip before we slid our boats into the water and started paddling. John came, with Cindy helping to run shuttle. Honey came and brought a friend, Michaela, as did Belinda, who invited Fran. Darron paddled with his daughter, Anastasia. Frank came along, and Terry and I paddled a canoe (Together!).
The new put in at Woodway has a nice sidewalk curving down from the parking lot to the river. They had placed a lot of concrete rick-rack at the water’s edge, but it was totally covered by piles of sand and mud, and the last 30 feet or so to the bayou is now typical muddy sandtrap. While it probably doesn’t meet any state or federal safety standards for constructed boat ramps, it is absolutely what any small boater expects as a put in to a bayou in Texas.
Anastasia, Darron and Terry getting ready to shove off!
The USGS said the flow at Piney Point was about 175 CFS, which was not bad. Along the way we saw plenty of ducks, and a couple of Great Blue Heron.
We did run into one tree across the entire bayou. Unfortunately, as I was helping the boats get across, I slipped and my cell phone ended up taking a swim and is now DOA.
Michaela was new to paddling, and spent a lot of her time going from one side of the bayou to the other. But she took it as a good sport, and may even come to another paddle again sometime!
Fran said she hadn’t been kayaking in a while, and should do it more often!
Darron said that Anastasia just kept paddling, and he hardly had to do any work.
While the forecast had been for 50 percent chance of rain, the weather soon turned sunny and warm.
The spring under one of the bridges downtown was flowing quick and clean, and smelled appropriately subterranean.
We rounded the corner and came to the take out under the Main Street Bridge at around 12:30.
We packed up and headed home, agreeing that it was a wonderful way to spend a Christmas day with friends!
(Photos by John Bartos and Honey Leveen)
|The author, Harmon Everett