Put in: Little Webberville Park, Webberville, TX Jan 1, 2010
Take out: Fisherman’s Park, Bastrop, TX, Jan 3, 2010
This trip has become part of our yearly events which we ring in the new year with. This was our 4th year in a row to make this trip. Attending with me this year was Zach, Alec and one of Alec’s friends Phillip. We were with 6 others from the Dallas Downriver Club (DDRC). We arrived at the put in at 8am and right behind us was the rest of the DDRC group. It was a beautiful crisp morning with temps in the low 30s and the sun was out. We got unloaded and quickly stuffed our kayaks and then got off of the ramp so others could load. Once everyone was ready we met our shuttle (Neil Cook of Cooks Canoes) http://www.cookscanoes.com/. All of the drivers drove to Bastrop and parked our vehicles and got back up to Webberville in Neil’s van. Launch time was exactly 11am. Our first nights campsite is an island that is 14 miles downriver and is located right were the Hyatt Lost Pines is located. The river was up about 8” from last years trip. While the flow was still low is was a welcome sight compared to years past. Once on the river the older boys took off and Zach and I settled into our paddle pace. Of all the different types of water I paddle, a river always has a certain majestic feel no matter what river it is. There is always change from different land features, to wildlife, to river flow and features. For me it is a special time to reflect and think about life with my boys and wife and count my blessings.
Alec, my oldest
Alec’s friend Phillip
Zach, one my twin 10yr olds
We paddled until 1pm and stopped for lunch and got back at it about 1:30 and then arrived at the island at 3:00pm. The air was very dry and sky clear, you could tell it was going to be a cold night. I put the boys to work gathering firewood and help with camp detail. After that they took off with the BB gun while I started work on dinner. Dinner was baked potatoes, steak, and green beans. I got a chance to try out my new wood burning stove and was quite impressed with the speed at which it brought a full pot of water to boil. While I was cooking we had some protesters show up. I guess they heard we were having steak for dinner and wanted to come give us their thoughts. We left the tents on the kayaks and put the bags on a tarp on the ground and covered with the rain fly from one of our tents. It was a very bright night being one night after a blue moon and no wind. Dinner came out perfect, the steaks were the best I have ever done (marinated 24 hrs then frozen) the potatoes were nice and soft all throughout and the green beans just a little firm. The boys woofed down their dinners and then sat by the fire for 30 minutes and quickly retired to their bags by about 7:30. I guess they were tired from the day. I laid on the ground next to the fire until about midnight then got into my bag which by now had ample frost on it, someone knocked off my cover. I slept well but woke up several times due the intense moonlight.
The steak dinner protesters
Cooking with my wood stove and the potato cook pit
The rest of DDRC group
I woke up about 5:30 and went to make coffee. One problem though, I forgot to put my water in the river and it is now frozen. After a thaw in the river I managed to get my first cup down and get the fire going. After daylight I got a look at my thermometer and it was 22 degrees. It felt warmer but I suppose it was the lack of wind. Had there been any wind it would have been a different story. There was frost on everything, the cover came off a couple of sleeping bags during the night so they were covered in frost also. The boys looked out of their bags at all of the frost and it was hard to get them out. I finally convinced the boys to get out of their sleeping bags for breakfast of sausage, toast and oatmeal. After breakfast we packed up our frosty bags and everything else and got on the water by 10:30. It was a little overcast day with high thin clouds but it still warmed up quickly into the 40s. I did not see any bald eagles this trip but did see plenty of Ospreys working the river and some with bounty in their talons. The older boys passed by some hunters who were stalking a hog along the river bank. Zach and I made several pit stops and a decent lunch of peanut butter sandwich, apples and chips. We arrived at out 2nd nights campsite about 2:30. This gave us plenty of time to get our bags out and let them dry in the sun. This island is about 12-13 miles downstream from the first nights camp and about 5-6 miles past the FM969 bridge. We camped on the back of the island on a low gravel bar that is only a few inches above the river level. The front of the island is higher but more exposed to the wind and the rocks are bigger making for a lump nights sleep. Knowing there had not been any rain upstream and very unlikely they are going to release water we were not concerned. Again I put the boys on firewood detail and setting up camp. The older boy elected to sleep in a tent this night, I think because of the threat of rain during the night. Zach and I put our bags on the ground and took a chance on it. Dinner was ham steaks, corn, fried potatoes, and pineapple, all but the pineapple was completely devoured by the hungry boys. We made a fire at the tail end of the gravel bar next to a large log that had recently floated up. After dinner Tom Taylor made some apple cinnamon cobbler that hit the spot around the fire. We all sat around the fire and traded stories for several hours. The boys retired about 10pm and I laid down next to the fire and got some good sleep until about 2:30am. Something across the river was walking around and slipped into the river, I suspect a hog but never got a look at it. I retired to my bag and was quickly greeted by a raccoon sniffing around my bag. I sat up and he moved back about 5ft. I chunked a few rocks at him and he would not get the message. So I got up and chased him up in the woods. Laid back down and 5 minutes later he is back and I sat up and he was helping himself to the left over pineapple. I gave in and just sat there and watched him eat while he kept one eye on me also. After that he rummaged through my garbage bag. The rest of the food was secure inside the yaks and the ice chest was right next to me.
Camp on day 2
I got up and made coffee about 5:45 and got the fire going. It was a much warmer morning with temps in the mid to upper 30s, thick clouds had moved in earlier in the night. The boys got up right away and warmed up by the fire for a bit then started packing up while I cooked sausage and eggs for breakfast. We got all packed up and got on the water by 8:30 for a short 6 mile paddle to Bastrop. Right away it started to mist followed by some light rain. We arrived in Bastrop at 10:15 and got packed up and on the road by 11am running into some rain between Austin and Waco.
On the river day 3
This is always a fun trip to take with my boys, sometime I would like to make the trip on down to Smithville and LaGrange. My oldest already has the idea that he wants to take it all the way to the coast. Well, I certainly hope he finds the time in his life to do just that, I know he has the sprit for it.
Get out and get wet,