Put in: Little Webberville Park, Webberville, TX Dec 31, 2010
Take out: Fisherman’s Park, Bastrop, TX, Jan 2, 2011
Dec 31, 2010This was our 5th year to make this trip over the New Years Eve holiday. This year is was one of my twin boys Zach and I and 6 others from the Dallas Downriver Club. Zach and I arrived at the launch at 8am and found Sam Sloan and Tony already there. We got everything unloaded and stowed away then paddled across the river to make room for the other arrivals. Zach did a little fishing and I sat back and rested from my drive. It was a pretty warm morning for January (44) and a partly cloudy morning with a little south wind. Once the rest of the crew arrived we all drove our vehicles down to Fisherman’s park in Bastrop then loaded up in a van from Cook’s Canoes (our shuttle) for the ride back to Webberville. I had overheard the driver mention he was dropping some other kayakers off at the FM969 bridge later that morning and that they would also be camping on the river 2 nights and pulling out in Bastrop. I know that there are only a few islands in that stretch and our 2nd night island has only limited real estate. So this information became useful the next day.
Zach and I started paddling at 11am and got into a pace and stopped occasionally to cast a line. We stopped for lunch about 5 miles downriver at the LRCA campsite on river left. We have a total of 14 miles to cover this day and the river level was not up that much. Our destination is a nice island just across adjacent to the Hyatt. Along the way we spotted many Great Blue herons, several Osprey and one Bald Eagle. As the day warmed we stopped to peal off clothing and the water was quite warm. Zach and I arrived at the island about 3:40 that afternoon and promptly got our gear unloaded. I once again elected not to pitch a tent but rather put a tarp down with the bags on top of the tarp. Once this was done we collected fire wood across the island dug us a fire pit to cook our steaks and baked potatoes. The rest of the group arrived about an hour later. Zach was very tired and crawled into his bag and slept while I worked on dinner. I buried the potatoes with rocks then put coals over that then the grill over the fire to cook the steaks. I had to wake Zach up to eat and he ate while staying in his bag then went right back to sleep. I cleaned up a bit and went over to visit with the rest of the group. The party was really starting to rock up at the Hyatt. Around 10pm I kept thinking I was seeing flashes of light to the northwest put dismissed it as fireworks. Then around 11pm I decided it was indeed some thunderstorms off in the distance. So I went back to my kayak and got the tent and put it up and woke Zach up to get inside along with my bag then secured everything else for wind and rain later. Boy were we treated to a great fireworks display from the Hyatt they were going off right over our heads. I bedded down after the fireworks were over.
Jan 1, 2011
I got up about 5am and made me some coffee and got the fire going. It was a peaceful quite morning with temps in the upper 40s and the rain never materialized. Zach got up about 7:30 and I fixed us some omelets, toast and OJ. I told Marc McCord that we were going to go ahead and get on the water so we could get on down to that nights campsite which is about 5-6 miles past the 969 bridge on the back side of a very large island. The back of this island is not visible from the main river and you would not know there was a place to camp there unless you pulled your kayak through the low water flow on river left. This campsite is also not available when the river is up. We got on the water a 9am just as the second cold front was pushing through. Initially we had the wind at our backs and that made for some easy paddling. As we made the bend just upstream from the bridge we were greeted by the stiff north wind in our face. We had about 3 miles into that wind. As we passed the bridge at 10:40am we noticed several kayaks and one canoe about to put on the water. We paddled until the river makes the next right turn and there is a nice sand and gravel bar on river right. We stopped there for lunch and the kayakers came on by. We finished up and got back on the river and then came by 3 other kayakers who were fishing. I figured this to be the group that put on the water on Dec 31 and may be headed to the big island later that day. The day actually warmed up more than I expected and we were once again peeling clothes off. We made the sharp right turn by the sandstone cliff which put us about a mile from the island. We arrived at the island at 1:30 and got to work securing firewood. Once again I elected to just put the tarp down. Sure enough about an hour later the other group of kayakers comes down the island on river left looking to camp where we had just set up. They paddled on downriver a bit and set up camp on river left. The rest of our group tricked in over the next hour. I took a quick dip in the river then got warmed up around the fire. Our camp was only 5-8” above the water level so any rise in the river and we would be wet. I clipped the kayaks to the tarp just in case and hopefully that would wake me before the water got to us. Fortunately we did not have to deal with that during the night. I made Chili and grilled cheese for dinner and then Zach was out. I sat around the fire and visited with the group until midnight.
Jan 2, 2011I got up at 5am and made me some coffee and resurrected the fire. It was cold with the temp about 20 and frost on our bags and everything else. I made omelets once again and rousted Zach at 7am. We got packed up and on the water by 8am for the short paddle to Bastrop (about 6 miles). We saw a Golden Eagle within the first mile then Zach spotted several hogs on river left. We made Bastrop at 9:45 and were loaded and on the road back to Plano by 10:20. This is a great trip to start the year and one year I will paddle the entire river from Austin to the coast. My vacation bank is full and I get about 5 weeks/yr. This year I was hoping to make several long river trips in NM,CO, and TX. However, it is also my 25yr wedding anniversary later this year and I am setting aside 2 weeks to get away with my wife somewhere.
Here are a few pics of this trip.
Rest of the crew loading up
Zach setting off
Going with the Flow
Rock cliff past the FM969 bridge
Camp on day 2
See you on the water,