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HomeNL-2016-09 Bats on Buffalo Bayou

Bats on Buffalo Bayou
August 24, 2016
by Natalie Wiest


August 24 was ladies’ night out on the bayou, or at least for the group which has called itself the Blazing Paddles. Many of us are current or former Houston Canoe Club paddling members, and we sure have a fine time when we get together. New participant Janice Walden proposed an evening on the bayou to see the bats fly out from the Waugh Drive bridge, and off we went!

Also a treat for me was a brand new put-in, at Lost Lake Visitor’s Center, quite a short distance from Waugh Drive, it is off of the Allen Parkway at Dunlavy. According to Janice, this was opened only in October 2015 and features a canoe access area, with its own fancy staircase, and a nice parking lot too. At the same spot is a nice restaurant, but we met instead at Whole Foods and dined there before proceeding to the Bayou.

The bayou was running about 1600 cfs, so there was quite a current and we decided that we would go with the flow, rather than downstream and then back up, so chose Sabine Street as our takeout. Here is a map of the area:


The blue star marks the Sabine Street takeout.

 


That meant that both ends required using concrete stairways but thankfully they were designed with the idea of use by canoeists and kayakers so they were wide enough for boat carrying.




Once down to the bayou it was fairly easy to get boats and paddlers on the water.

 


The bats, however, weren’t entirely cooperative, maybe they were intimidated by our talkative group hanging from the willow trees right next to Waugh Drive bridge.

 



As ever, it is a joy to paddle through Houston’s urban wilderness.


After we gave up on the bats, and vice versa, we enjoyed the cooler night air, a light breeze and fabulous views of downtown Houston with its twinkling lights.

Our own HCC Commodore, Honey Leveen wears her twinkle around her neck, one of those glow in the dark jobbies that we found were a great way to keep track of each other on the dark bayou.
      
The handheld exposure is almost always a blur, but I hope you can get the idea.

Soon the unmistakable blue lights of the Sabine Street bridge came into view. Talk about a takeout that would be hard to miss…
 
I must say I was in awe of the persuasive powers of my fellow paddlers. They sweet-talked SEVERAL young men into carrying the canoes up the long set of stairs and up to street level so we could load up on the cars. I guess I’m pretty good at sweet-talking too, since I got to ride in the middle of a canoe without taking one paddle stroke. OK, OK, I have a legitimate excuse, still recovering from rotator cuff shoulder surgery a few weeks back and it will be several months until I am back to full paddling strength. So thanks again to my fellow blazing paddlers for helping me along on this marvelous adventure.

This would be a great trip to repeat for Houston Canoe Club. Since I’m still a non-paddler, would someone else like to practice up on the trip leading skills and share this with the rest of the club?

Natalie Wiest
Out of commission as a paddler, but always willing to provide ballast and cheer-leading.
 


The author, Natalie Wiest