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HomeNL-2016-07 Trinity River

TInto the Woods: Trinity River Basin Transit
June 7, 2016
Natalie Wiest

If the Trinity river upstream gauge reads 50,000 CFS; and the next downstream gauge reads 20,000 CFS, where could all that water be going? That’s a mystery Tom Douglas wanted to explore and it didn’t take a lot of arm twisting for him to talk Dave Kitson, Joe Coker, and me to go with him to check out the flooded river basin. I needed an easier ride for my shoulder and Tom kindly offered the bow seat of his tandem canoe, so off we went.

Tom did the yeoman’s service of calculating all the routes, printing the maps, and with the assistance of Joe and Dave, figuring out where the heck we were in amongst the trees and the trackless flooded forests and marshes.

Here he is chatting up a local and explaining our route to him from Cedar Hill Park whence we set out.

Tom navigated from no fewer than four maps and produced this one after our trip to show our actual (purple) vs. projected (white) path, as well as paths from previous trips he had done.

He consulted the maps often and we stopped frequently to figure out our exact location and take depth and current flow readings.

Joe and Dave corroborated readings, I checked depths (and here is Joe with his kayak paddle giving an idea of how much water there was even way back in the forest). We all got quite a slalom-style workout winding our way through the trees.

The only spot of dry ground we found before we got to Old River was this remnant of a roadway or levee near the intersection of the sulphur cut and Trinity River. It afforded a nice place for a lunch stop.

Although our distance travelled for the day was only a little over 11 miles, our frequent stops for navigational discussion and redirection kept us going from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. takeout on the Old River.

By the end of the day the sky was clear and the humidity blessedly low, picture perfect.

What a great day to be out exploring.

Joe Coker has posted his set of photos from the day on the Houston Canoe Club site. Be sure to check out his photographic record, here.


- Natalie Wiest

The author, Natalie Wiest