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HomeNL-2017-11 Trinity River

Lower Trinity River
Segment 1 (FM 3278 to US Highway 59)

October 14, 2017
by Kent Walters

 Trip At-A-Glance
 Date:  14-Oct-17
 Put-In:  Just below Dam on 3278, east side of river
 (expensive permit from Browder's Marine)
 Take-Out:  Hwy 59 @ Trinity River
 Gage (ID):  5.57' (USGS 08066250 Trinity Rv nr Goodrich, TX)
 Discharge/Flow (CFS):  1960 (produces ~ 1 mph assist)
 Temperature:  82-88
 Precipitation:  Partial cloud - no rain
 Wind:  Light breeze at times
 Coordinator:  Kent Walters
 Participants:  8 (7 HCC + 1 guest)
 Canoes:  1
 Kayaks:  6
 Miles:  Individual: 10.2; addition to Club mileage: 71.4


We met per the plan at the take-out, but the take-out did not meet the plan. We spent a lot of time trying to find a way to make it work, and we found a “best fit” in “Portz’s Passage”, but we could see that even this easiest route was beyond what we would be willing to do after a 21-mile paddle. Not visible in the photos is the three-foot high shelf all along the water’s edge. At the same time we were lamenting the death march, we were observing the flat-water conditions of the river in general, causing us to reconsider the wisdom of the 21-mile aspect of the trip.

(click to enlarge)


We took our caravan to the intended put-in to see if we could find better luck turning it into a take-out. At first glance, the new take-out looked pretty bad, with the edge of the parking lot and its guardrail bending down a new cliff, but the actual boat ramp was in excellent condition. So we reconfigured boats and vehicles on faith that we would find an acceptable put-in upstream by the dam.

After a few wrong turns, we found a great place under the FM 3278 bridge. The small complication with it was there was a troll under the bridge (actually a sign) indicating that we had to go a couple of miles down the road to Browder’s Marina to pay to play. So we finally got the boats off, prepped and in the water by high noon.

The put-in from the satellite:

The put-in from the ground (looking upstream):

The river is wide and obstructions almost non-existent. The water was moving, but not so you would notice. Shortly after getting underway, we saw a large number of vultures not taking turns at a feast of some sort. A short while later, our resident bird expert, Bruce Bodson, spotted and pointed out a juvenile bald eagle perched in a tree. It took off before I could get in position for a good photo, but it was a joy to see. Thanks Bruce.



We progressed downriver at a pretty good pace, with carp, gar, great egrets and kingfishers punctuating the landscape. We stopped for lunch in a small ravine that offered some shade and enjoyed getting to know each other better, along with enjoying some food that tasted better than it should have.




Back on the river, we saw a mature bald eagle just watching everything from his/her perch high above us. I did get a few photos of this magnificent bird that seemed to have one chest feather out of place.


Later we saw a vulture and two bald eagles flying together, probably the one from the tree and the one we didn’t see.

We congratulated ourselves on our good fortune by drinking some more water, and a little while later were surprised to see the railroad bridge and the US 59 bridge, indicating the end of our time on the water.

The take-out from the ground:

The take-out from the satellite:

Trinity River "Segment 1" Map & Shuttle Route:



The author, Kent Walters