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HomeNL-2016-07 Turtle Whites

Paddling Turtle Bayou and Whites Bayou
June 11, 2016
Tom Douglas

Even though we knew from the weather reports that today’s rain was likely to be spotty, it was still a little dispiriting to drive through several showers as we headed east from Houston out Interstate 10. Several of us waited in our cars at Whites Park as the last of the showers passed.


Anticipation at Whites Park
by Joe Coker 

Our multicolored mini-armada of 3 canoes and 11 kayaks headed southwest, down Turtle Bayou to Lake Anahuac, where we looked a half-mile across to the site of the visitors’ center for the Texas Chenier Plains National Wildlife Refuge. Making our way through a line of trees, we visited a small wetland, where we saw several species of invasive water plants that are notorious for creating problems in Texas’ waterways. Returning to the main stem of the bayou, we headed back upstream to the Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve, which is nearing completion, but is not yet open to the general public. Following a hike led by Linda Shead, who played a significant role in establishment of the Preserve, we enjoyed lunch in the shade of trees near the Preserve’s canoe/kayak launch.

Down Turtle Bayou by Joe Coker   Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve
by Joe Coker


We returned to Whites Park for a brief stop, then turned to the south into Whites Bayou. Compared to what we had just seen, Whites Bayou is narrower, shadier, and more winding. With the help of today’s high water level, we were able to paddle a mile and a half up Whites Bayou, just beyond the end of Cain Road, which is farther along the bayou than any of us had paddled before. It would have been interesting to continue, but it was time to turn back so that we could return to Whites Park by the scheduled take-out time of 4:00. Feeling the afternoon heat (which reached 95 degrees in the nearby town of Anahuac), and knowing that cold watermelon awaited us back in Whites Park, the group made record time during this last leg of the 7.5 mile outing. Boy, was that ever a tasty watermelon!

Into Whites Bayou
by Linda Shead
Whites Bayou Turnaround
by Joe Coker
Headed for Home
by Linda Shead

Big Cypress Knee
by Linda Shead
      Leave No Trace
by Tom Douglas
      Where We Went
Tom Douglas
Linda Shead
Joya Chandra
Joe Coker
Taylor Cutshall
Stan Frazier
Martin Hamilton
Vaness Hamilton
Jimmy Hook
Curtis Law
Malcolm LeFevre
Kelly Motter
Kim Newberry
David Portz
Danielle Vinette
Kent Walters
Milton Wilson

The author,Tom Douglas