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HomeNL-2008-05 Buffalo Bayou

Buffalo Bayou
May, 2008
by John Rich

A group of canoeists met on a Sunday morning to canoe Buffalo Bayou through downtown Houston. We started downtown at Allen’s Landing, behind the Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant near Milam and Commerce streets. From there we paddled several miles west, and returned to a picnic lunch under a bridge. Then, while some headed home for other commitments, the remainder set back out on the water again and paddled several miles east, and returned.

Participants: John Rich, Louis & Stephen Aulbach, Dana Enos, Linda Gorski, Bob Arthur, Gary McKee & girlfriend Minette, and Keith Bowden.

Louis is an expert on the history of the bayou, and kept up an entertaining commentary about what we were seeing, pointing out everything from the old ice plant and the grave site of Howard Hughes, all the way back to the site of the visit to Houston by 300 Comanche Indians.


Map      Put-in under
the bridge
     View of the city
from the bayou
     Louis in
downtown vista

A gaggle of
paddlers amidst 
the skyscrapers 
and nicely 
      Another sort of
      At times, the view
from the bayou
almost makes you 
forget that you’re 
in the 4th largest 
city in America
      Back at the bridge, 
Linda prepares a
lunch buffet
   Pastel colors

This scene was interesting because of the kaleidoscope pattern of pastel colors reflecting from the ripples of water up onto the underside of the bridge arch. So what was creating all those beautiful hues? An oil slick…


1912 RR bridge   

Tucked away under the Highway 59 bridge where you would never see it, is an old railroad bridge, from 1912. It’s a swing bridge that rotated out of the way when a boat needed to pass by to get to Allen’s Landing. Allen’s Landing was the original port of Houston, before boats became too big to travel up the bayou. The same folks that built this bridge, went on to build the famous San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Snake sunning on
a rock, with his
head hidden in
the weeds

Louis (far) & Stephen
(near) Aulbach, father
and son: That apple
didn’t fall far from
the tree
     Those that did the
eastward paddle
after lunch, pose
with refreshments:
John, Dana, Louis,

The Buffalo Bayou water is a little skuzzy, and there’s a bit of trash floating around, but nevertheless, Buffalo Bayou is definitely a very unique way to see downtown Houston, which few others get to experience, and well worth the effort.

The author, John Rich