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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

By Lollipop
We took the trip to scout the canyon and plan a trip for a larger group.

Feb. 23 – We left Castroville after lunch and planned on camping at Seminole Canyon State Park. With snow and 35 mph winds out of the north, we chickened out and went on to Sanderson and found a motel.

Feb 24 – We had a leisurely drive into Big Bend and observed turkey, white tailed deer, mule deer, coyotes and other forms of life, including humans. We camped at Rio Grande Village Campground and had foil-wrapped meat and vegetables followed by a Dutch oven cobbler.

Feb 25 – It was 28 degrees at the crack of dawn and the other members of the group waited until the leader of the group got up and made coffee. As we had breakfast tacos, one member of the group commented that it was a three dog night and he had left all of his dogs at home. We ferried one vehicle to the take-out point (Heath Ranch) and launched about 1:00 pm. Round trip to Heath Ranch takes 4 hours.
The river was flowing at about 2,000 cfs and heavily silt laden. Normal flow for this time of year is about 250 cfs.
We found an appropriate camp site at 4:30 and hauled out. It was on the Mexican side and was a silt and gravel bar about 8 feet above the river level. After supper (everyone fixed their own), we talked and did a little star gazing. Even though the moon was nearly full, there were many more stars to be seen than in more settled parts of Texas. By 9:00 pm headed to bed.
About midnight the canyon winds joined us. About 3:00 am I heard a shot. In the morning I learned that it was not a shot, but the fly on one of the tents providing a sky-light for that tent. Periodically my tent would lay down on me and then pop back up. About 5:00 am it quit doing that when two fiberglass tent poles snapped. As the tent quit trying to stand up and be a real tent, the canvas quit flapping so much and I got some sleep.
Feb 26 – Breakfast was oatmeal and fruit cups. We were a little slow in breaking camp (9:30) and heading down river into the heavy headwinds. We hauled out for a long lunch about 11:30 and fired up the propane stove for hot soup and hot coffee or tea. By 2:30 we found a campsite on a silt bar about a mile from the park boundary. As noon approached, the headwinds died down. While others went hiking, I patched equipment.
Feb 27 – We had told one of the group who was touring Big Bend by vehicle and foot that we would be at the take out between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. We arrived at 10:15 am. The de-launch spot is on the inside of the curve of the river. At high water levels the current wants to sweep vessels to the other side of the river. If that happens, it is a long way to the next take out.
After loading up, we headed to Sanderson for hot showers and decent meals.
Feb 28 – We returned home.

Lessons learned:
Fill up at Del Rio (Wal-Mart on north side of town has best price).
Fill up at the Phillips on the north side of Sanderson.
Gas is available at Rio Grande Village for $1.00 per gallon more than it is at Sanderson.
When one tries to take photos, take notes, and program campsite waypoints into a GPS while floating into a rapid, the result can be interesting. I ended up plunging into a Carrizo Cane patch draped over the river. I thought my kayak was going to proceed without me, but when I told it to stay, if behaved better than any dog I ever trained.
Do not take binoculars. We saw a mountain goat on the top of one of the cliffs. Paul pulled out his binoculars and studied it. He concluded it was a white donkey.
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By Bigrock
Thanks for the report. Where do you put in? At the old Boquillas Mex. crossing or down at the canyon parking?

By some stroke of luck (or lack thereof) I have only floated the river at normal flow once. All other times have been high and fast, although I don't know what the flow rates were. I appreciated the extra time that the normal flow allowed for decision making. :wink: :D
By Lollipop
We put in at the boat ramp behind the Group Camping area in the Rio Grande Village Campground. The only sign is after you pass a sign that points out that unless you are a registered group camper you should not enter. It is the easiest place to launch. Park Volunteers understand the ambiguity of the sign and hope to get things changed.

Take out is at Heath Ranch, just below the bridge. You have to make arrangements for take out before you go. One can obtain the number from the BBNP web site.

In years past one could take out at Adams Ranch or Stillwell Crossing, but not now.

We were told our river permit did not allow us to stop at Boquillas Village but after we entered the canyon we could haul out on either side.

By Lollipop
Here are a few photos from Boquillas.

2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 153.jpg
We enter Boquillas Canyon.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 153.jpg (55.51 KiB) Viewed 2542 times
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 085.jpg
Every thing this kayaker need fit in his small kayak.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 085.jpg (39.75 KiB) Viewed 2542 times
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 083.jpg
This gentleman wanted to see if he could sink his kayak by carrying the kitchen sink.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 083.jpg (56.59 KiB) Viewed 2542 times
By Lollipop
Here are a couple more photos.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 215.jpg
Firsts night camp on a silt bar that was deposited with the floood 2 years ago.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 215.jpg (65.35 KiB) Viewed 2541 times
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 176.jpg
I wonder whether sunset is at a different time down here?
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 176.jpg (52.23 KiB) Viewed 2541 times
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 164.jpg
The canyon walls dwarf us.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 164.jpg (45.48 KiB) Viewed 2541 times
By Lollipop
Three more photos.

2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 318.jpg
Tent after duct tape repair of broken tent poles.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 318.jpg (47.3 KiB) Viewed 2534 times
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 271.jpg
An interesting cave, but we did not hike up to it.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 271.jpg (73.48 KiB) Viewed 2534 times
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 240.jpg
Can you see the mountain goat on top of a cliff? We learned to not take binoculars cause they identified the mountain goat as a white donkey.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 240.jpg (59.11 KiB) Viewed 2534 times
By Lollipop
When the water level is lower, there is a gravel beach downstream that makes a better take out spot. If you get stuck, the fee for a tow is $300. That is cheap according to Padre Island standards.

2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 381.jpg
Looking up stream at the take-out. Not much room when the water is high. Being on the inside of a curve, it is easy to overshoot.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 381.jpg (39.88 KiB) Viewed 2533 times
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 374.jpg
The Black Gap Rapids. With the high water, they were not kayak turning over rapids.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 374.jpg (50.7 KiB) Viewed 2533 times
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 356.jpg
As we approach the de-launch point, the country side opens up.
2010-02-24-Boquillas Canyon 356.jpg (34.58 KiB) Viewed 2533 times
By Lollipop
No, it was a mail order off brand. I got what I paid for.

Academy in San Antonio just got some of the Mac pop-up tents in. $49.99 for the 7 x 8 veriion and $89.99 for the larger version. In the interest of science, I think I need to buy one and test it.

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