The entire TG family took time out to hike, paddle, fish, and swim at Huntsville State Park. We started the first three mornings with 2, 2+, and 3 mile hikes. Nate walked them all, celebrating his 4th birthday. Warm and humid as it was, swimming was the late morning/early afternoon activity of choice. Our time on the water was enjoyed paddling watercraft we personally chose for this adventure. Lake Raven was serene, we owned the swimming area, the paddling was delightful, the fishing was cathartic, the alligators were many, and the livin’ was easy.
July 2nd, the TGs took the opportunity to run 10.6 miles of the Guadalupe River from Comfort to the Waring bridge. Fortunate to catch a small rise from upstream, the gauge read a perfect 349 CFS when we entered the river underneath the I-10 bridge. The good flow allowed us to paddle, cruise, and run everything, except the dams and bridges, of course. Expecting some rapids, Alex and Duane paddled Jackson Kayak Coosa HDs and Evelyn paddled her Native Manta Ray 11. These proved to be good choices for us as they were made for this. Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Green Herons, Ravens, Cardinals, very wary turtles, White-tailed Deer, cattle, and sheep graced the scenery as we paddled along. Majestic Cypress Trees ruled the impressive river corridor. What we didn’t see??? TRASH – YEA! With lunch and swimming breaks, the trip took us 4.5 hours. Truly, we had a great day.
The TGs have taken advantage of the wonderful flows on the Blanco River several times this Winter and Spring. This was the run we made on May 15th, at 611 CFS. The trip was 6.8 miles long and, with the high flow, we felt like we had our kayaks on cruise control. Y’all need to paddle these Hill Country rivers while you can. They are amazing!
We celebrated Mother’s Day on the San Marcos River. The weather was perfect and the river had a terrific flow (258 CFS) and an even better flow after the confluence with the Blanco, which added another 1000 CFS. We set the cruise control and enjoyed. We saw tons of turtles, a Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Herons, Red Tailed Hawks, a family of Wood Ducks, a family of Mallards, Green Kingfishers, and more. After our paddle trip, we had dinner at the Red Rock Steakhouse. Great Day!
The TGs spent a few days enjoying Inks Lake. The weather was a bit misty with some drizzle but, understanding kayaking is a water sport after all, we did get some paddling and casting done. Amy, with her dog Lacey, and Evelyn paddled their Native Manta Ray 11s.
Alex was on the Jackson Kayak Bite and Duane was on the JK Mayfly. Both fishing kayaks paddled very well on the windy, open water and the stability for standing was solid, steady, and easy.
The TGs headed West to enjoy the Nueces River. For kayaks we took a Native Manta Ray 11, Liquidlogic Manta Ray 12, and a Jackson Coosa. On Monday, Evelyn and I paddled from CR408 down to Chalk Bluff Park, where we had camp set up for two nights. It was wonderful as we were the only campers on the mile long frontage of the river. Alex joined us Monday night and we all paddled from CBP to CR405 on Tuesday. It had been a while since we paddled a West Texas river and the peace and relaxation the Nueces River generously gave us was needed and welcomed. We saw Great Blue Herons, Red-Tailed Hawks, Turkey and Black Vultures, a Black-chinned Humminbird nesting, a Vermillion Flycatcher (stunning), a Yellow-throated Warbler, Green Kingfishers, Eastern Wood-Pewee, along with 3 Aoudads, and a few Diamondback Water Snakes. The water was crystal clear, cool, and running 112CFS, on Monday, and 108 CFS, on Tuesday. The Nueces is a typical West Texas river as, at this water level, it runs fairly shallow (we did walk some) and has fun little Class I Rapids and wall shots. Peace here is abundant. FYI – any time you paddle in the desert, choose a section length you know you can handle easily. Being able to read current and depth is important. A big thank you to Sky Lewey who gave us all the great information we needed to enjoy her special river!
Alex and I took advantage of our days off, camped at Palmetto State Park, and ran 12.4 miles of the San Marcos River from River Bend RV Park to Palmetto State Park. The river was flowing at a good 300 CFS. The trip took us 4 hours with lunch. Alex paddled a Jackson Kayak Liska and I paddled my JK Coosa HD. We saw many Red-Shouldered Hawks, Great Blue Herons, Green Kingfishers, Belted Kingfishers, a Pileated Woodpecker, Mallard Ducks, Cormorants, Caracara, Killdeer, Black Vultures, Cardinals, and more. We saw several wild hogs, a Diamondback Watersnake, and cattle! Overall, this would be a river trip for intermediate and higher skilled mainly because of 12 + mile length and Son of Ottine Rapid, which could be portaged. Scout the Palmetto SP bridge take-out before you put-in. It can be dangerous if you don’t have a good exit plan set up to avoid the fast water going under it. For this trip, we lost Evelyn to the Round Top Antique Show she attended with friends – oh, the choices we make. But, we all had great days off!
The TG Crew took advantage of the 70+ degree weather and ran 6.8 miles of the Colorado River from Fisherman’s Park to Tahitian Village – Bastrop, TX. Birding was good as we spotted Red Shoulder Hawks, Belted Kingfishers, Teals, a Piliated Woodpecker, Cormorants, American Coots, Black Vultures, Cardinals, and more. We saw two huge soft-shelled turtles and tons of hard shells. At a good flow of 1710 CFS, we explored the channels less traveled every chance we had available. It took us 2.25 hours with lunch. FYI – the wind can be a factor because the Colorado River is so open. At this water level, longer boats are nice for tracking and speed. There are very few obstacles. This is a good river run for beginners.
Blanco River testing the Jackson Kayak Liska, Bonafide RS117, and the Native 12 XT: We wanted to check out these three, traditionally flat water kayaks, on moving water to see how sea worthy they were on Class I rapids and moving water. We paddled from 5 Mile Dam to IH 35 on a day we had up to 20 mph winds, with the river gauge reading 245 CFS. All three kayaks checked the boxes for completing this run. We surfed them, ran them through rapids, and pushed them through a 20 mph headwind. We switched kayaks each mile giving each of us the opportunity to paddle all three kayaks. All were stable and maneuverable. The Liska slipped and slid over the rocky quick water very well, the 12 XT brought the fastest hull speed, and the RS117 tracked well with its tri-hull. So, what’s the verdict? If you own or are ready to purchase one of these fine kayaks, don’t forget to enjoy the rivers, too!
We took advantage of the 75 degree temperature to run the Upper Guadalupe River from Bergheim Campground to Guadalupe State Park on Tuesday, 2-5-19. The river had a nice flow of 350 CFS, making the Class I and Class II run fun and enjoyable. Birds included a few Red Shouldered Hawks, Red Tailed Hawks, an Osprey, Great Blue Herons, Great Egret, and scores of finches, warblers, etc. We encourage y’all to take the time to paddle these Hill Country rivers while they’re running. The skill level for this section, at this water level, would be intermediate or better. The kayaks we used on this trip were the Native Manta Ray, Jackson Coosa HD, and Jackson Coosa.
Alex cruisin down the rio