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HomeNL-2011-04_San Marcos Cleanup

San Marcos River Cleanup

March 5th, 2011
by Robert Langley
Another year, another googolplex of beer cans.

On March 5th, members of the Houston Canoe Club came together to do our part to restore our most paddled section of the San Marcos River to its natural beauty. Nancy Christian, John and Frank Ohrt, Lous Aulbach, Christy Long, Harmon Everett, Janice and Fraser Baker, July Luck, David Jacobs and myself braved a chilling March morning to do our part.

The morning started off less than ideal. On the way back from the one of the smallest morning meetings I have seen a cold front passed through that brought a short shower, dropping temperatures and a stiff northwest wind. Only the heartiest had chosen to make the day. As the wind picked up and the temperature dropped, we began to question the wisdom of a day on the water. However, the lure of 10,000 beer cans called out, and we set out on our way.


To my pleasant surprise, we were finding fewer beer cans than years gone by. By the time we stopped for lunch, I had barely filled my first garbage sack. By the time we had finished lunch, the weather had warmed. Getting a little damp did not seem as bad idea as it had a few hours before. When we rounded the entrance to S turn, (AKA dog leg, broken back…) I headed back to excavate about a garbage bag of cans out of the tree roots on river right just up stream of the rapids. After retrieving every thing I could and feeling like I had struck the mother lode, I paddled down stream to catch the rest of the group. As I came out of S-turn, I looked down stream to see the rest of the group on the peninsula just down stream. As I paddled up, my recent find became insignificant. There on the peninsula was enough aluminum to build a British Frigate. We filled the bags that we had brought from the morning meeting and then began to fill the extra bags I had brought. There just seemed to be no end. We loaded our boats with bags until they became unstable and then set off down stream to dump our load in the trailer just above Cotton Seed Rapids. As we paddled to our drop spot, I am sad to say there were many more cans along the way. Thankfully, the group behind us was not quite as loaded and was able to retrieve some additional cans along the way. We dumped our load and much lighter we paddled down stream to the takeout. In-between Cotton Seed and the take out we were weary from our task but sill managed to pickup an additional three bags of cans.


Then there were the polers. The Houston Canoe Club is a diverse group encompassing everything from recreational paddlers to hardcore play boaters. On one end of the spectrum (a multidimensional spectrum) are our friends the polers. While most of the group headed down stream, our group of polers lead by Bob Naeger and joined by Rob Kroger and Bob Popp headed up stream. Not to be out done they returned to camp with three canoe loads of trash. That’s not a bad haul for a group that would be right home on swamp people. At least that is the way poling is depicted on my one and only poling video. The bottom line is that everyone contributed to making the river a better place.


When we got back to camp we were ready for a hot shower. After our showers and a brief respite, we were then off to Shady Grove Campround for a complementary BBQ dinner. The up side to the chilly weather at the start of the day was ample BBQ and dessert for those who braved the elements. The dinner is always a fun event. You get to meet paddlers from around the state and catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. This event and ones like it are one of the reasons the paddling community is such a close knit group. It is also an opportunity to show the land owners that we are the good guys.

Robert Langley