TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


#2247555
Hi all, this spring I'll be responsible for planning a camping trip for a bunch of 5th grade Girl Scouts. They've been car camping the past several years but I thought since this is their last year before they get dispersed to different middle schools, different extracurricular activities, it would be fun to add a new level of adventure, and I thought adding a canoeing day trip to the camp out would fit the bill. I've done canoeing in Villge Creek in East Texas and it's great, so that's one option, but thought I'd also offer a Hill Country trip since the girls have never camped out there as a group (stuck to places within 2 hours of Houston). So I'm looking for suggestions for a ~4 hour paddle on a Hill Country river that would be good for 10-11 year old girls, most with little to no paddling experience, reasonably near a nice state park to camp at, and recommendations for a good outfitter to rent canoes from. Thanks!
#2247566
Hi, I'm a former BSA Asst Scoutmaster with 14 years in the program. I'm not familiar with Girl Scouting but in the BSA all outings had to be in accordance with The Guide to Safe Scouting guidelines. The BSA was very specific regarding Flatwater Canoeing and required any scout going on a Flatwater trip to have their certification which was usually done over a weekend. Because of the Canoe over Canoe rescue requirement, most boys had to be 12 or older before attending just because of the physicality in handling an overturned canoe while in the water.

Our canoe outings were usually either on Village Creek or the Colorado River in Columbus which was considered Flat Water. Any river with Rapids was considered in another category and required different certification.

Canoeing on any type of moving/swift water without proper training can be a challenge for anyone with several potential dangers especially for young inexperienced paddlers.

If you are thinking Hill Country I would stick to a lake and hook up with an outfitter. Inks lake State Park is nice with great hiking and is close to Longhorn Caverns as well.
#2247594
You might look at South Llano River State Park. I think the section of the river down stream form the park is pretty tame. I have not paddled that section river, that is just what I recall from reading about it. There are outfitters in the area that could arrange a shuttle for you.

TPWD maintains a resource for various paddling trails that you could refer to as well.
https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/inland/
#2247595
Hooknpaddle,

Yeah, I was a cub scout den leader for 4 and a half years, did BALOO training, so I'm familiar with BSA guidelines, which do actually allow youth-operated paddle sports on calm or gently flowing waters all the way down to Wolf (2nd grade)(and first graders with adult partner), . What I liked about BSA is they knew to change with the times. When I was a cub scout, there was no camping until one trip when you were a WEBELOS, but BSA realized to a lot of people camping and scouting were synonymous and they were losing a lot of boys bridging to a Troop, so they started allowing family camping for cubs. Also they recognized that some cub scouts might not have a father in their life, so made the camping inclusive for mothers and siblings. Girl Scouts is really inflexible, and not family oriented at all, fathers are elbowed out, and there is no such thing as "family camping" just to get the girls outside and enjoying camping, from the very first campout at the lowest age the girls are expected to demonstrate a lot of skills (many of them antiquated and even out of touch with Leave No Trace) in order to be allowed to camp. It's a bit overzealous, when the parents in our group just want our kids to get a taste of being out and enjoying nature with their friends. And the mothers who run the troop like to say our girls are doing "girl scouts lite" to avoid a lot of the bureaucratic BS and overemphasis on advancements, a lot of them kind of dumb.

So every year we have an unofficial "campout for families whose girls just happen to be in the same Girl Scout troop" as we like to call it to get around all that. It's usually 4 or 5 girls and their parents, who all know each other well and are friends. As the troop is not continuing next year, this year will be the last one. Most of the dads are experienced paddlers and two of us are ACA instructors, but still we want a GUIDED trip, which is why I asked for outfitter names. I've taken my daughter on a guided whitewater rafting trip in northern New Mexico, and saw other children on previous rafting trips, so I don't think a guided canoe trip would be age-inappropriate. We aren't looking for rapids or anything, just an easy float.
Last edited by Reefmonkey on Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
#2247596
Blue Devil 7 wrote:You might look at South Llano River State Park. I think the section of the river down stream form the park is pretty tame. I have not paddled that section river, that is just what I recall from reading about it. There are outfitters in the area that could arrange a shuttle for you.

TPWD maintains a resource for various paddling trails that you could refer to as well.
https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/inland/


Thanks!
#2247661
It took me a while to get used to all the 'rules' they have in BSA but in our litigious society, it seems the rules are there to protect the organization, the charter organization, parents, scoutmasters and the scout so it's just one of those things you have to adapt to.

I hope to take a trip to the Llano in a few weeks and will be on the lookout for outfitters.

I think it's a great idea to get the kids and parents out on an 'informal' outing. My initial read had images of inexperienced paddlers on the Guadalupe and not understanding the dangers of floating downstream of an overturned canoe in swift water. I've seen canoes wrapped around trees and people get dangerously trapped.

But hopefully you can find some quiet hill country floats.

There are definitely outfitters in Bastrop and Columbus for the Colorado. Will let you know if I come across some in the Hill Country.
#2249181
The south Llano would be perfect. You can probably tell I am a little partial by my username. We have property on the river and I have taken both my boys down many, many times. They were two yrs old the first time I took them down the river.

My 7 yr old now does it in his own kayak.
Be careful on water...

... these things are extremely dangerous!

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