Dec 31-Jan 2, 2011-2012
This was my 7th year doing this trip with DDRC. It is always a pleasure to get out this time of year. Along on this trip was Jacob, Zachary, and Alec Atnip, Phillip Metcalf, John Kuhlenschmidt, Tim and Rebecca Stanton, Tom Taylor, Marc McCord, Steve and Mark Crowe. The river flow was about normal and sufficient we did not have to drag boats except for an occasional time or two but only a few feet each time. The weather on Saturday was balmy and myself and all my boys were in shorts. I arrived about 8:30am and Steve, Mark and John had already arrived and were loading their boats. Tom, Marc, Tim and Rebecca arrived about 11am. Once we got everyone’s boat unloaded the drivers took off to Bastrop to drop off our vehicles. We all got on the water about 1pm for a 15 mile paddle to the Hyatt island.
I let all my boys paddle ahead and with Steve and Mark just ahead of them. The day was very warm with a high of about 77. The rest of us made our way downriver toward the first nights camp on a nice island out in front of the Lost Pines Hyatt. The boys found just enough wood on the island for that nights fire and a bit left over for the morning. I arrived at the island about 4:30 and promptly got some charcoal lit to cook our baked potatoes the steaks. Zach got the fire started using his firesteel and some tender he secured with one or two strikes. The boys all pitched their tents and I elected to just put my pad a bag out on the ground to enjoy the stars. Then as we expected the Hyatt fireworks display got started at 11pm and woke the boys up and several others. Marc and I continued to chat around the fire side until about midnight.
The next morning I awoke about 4:30 to some still air and we had a heavy dew. The expected cool front came through about 5am with an initial light north wind. I got the boys stirring and made them omelets, toast and OJ for breakfast. I got the boys moving and they got us packed up and on the water shortly after 10am for the ~13 mile paddle down to the big island. Rebecca elected to come paddle with us for the day. Steve and Mark got on just ahead of us and Marc, Tom and Tim drug up the rear. Initially all was fine until we rounded the corner to the FM969 bridge. The north wind had kicked up quite strong and we were head first right into it for the next several miles. Everyone just tucked in and kept paddling. Once we go thought most of the northern river treks we pulled over for lunch with Steve and Mark Crowe. Everybody was some kind of hungry as they went through pretty much what I had left for lunches. Feeding two 17yr olds and two 12 yr olds requires a lot of food, especially when they have been burning calories paddling. The air temp was in the mid 50s but in true form my boys were all in shorts once again.
We all got to the big island (which is about 6 miles from Bastrop) at 2:30. Once there Jacob set off to find him some tender, wood and location for the nights campfire. The tender he found while dry was coated with a little river mud and hence did not want to initiate. With a supplement of one cotton ball he got it lit with one strike of his firesteel. The rest of the boys pitch in and collected quite a pile of firewood. Marc, Tim and Tom found there way and all got unloaded and preparing for dinner. We elected to camp on the far downstream end of the island in order to get some protection from the wind. While low to the water it is well protected from the north winds. I prepared a Dutch oven chicken pot pie and the boys sure made short work of that. Later Tom served up some of his excellent Dutch oven apple cobbler. Once the sun was down the temps dropped sharply and everyone got on their long pants and shirts and huddled around the fire for some fun times, stories of past trips and just general good conversations.
The next mornings temps were about 25 with little or no wind. I got up a bit late and made my first cup and got the fire restarted with a little tender and a couple of puffs. I got the boys up and moving and once again we had omelets and toast. I did are really good job on packing food as we took home almost nothing and nobody went hungry. We were all packed up and on the water by about 9:35 and made Bastrop about 11:20. My boys really do a great job pitching in and getting boats unloaded then getting it all in the truck and trailer. They have learned some true teamwork over the years of doing this. It is a rare occasion that I get all 3 of my boys on a trip at one time. They are all engaged with many activities that getting them all in one place is a blessing. We all had another memorable trip and look forward to more to come. Here are a few pictures of the trip.
See you on the water,
First nights camp
Jacob with his new paddling style
My three boys and Phillip
Steve and Mark Crowe
Second nights campfire
Second nights camp
Looking down stream from second nights camp