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By Earl
Sorry a bit late but got it out.

Colorado River
Jan 3-5, 2014

This is part of our annual start to the year , the camp and paddle from Little Webberville Park to Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop. Along with me was one of my 3 sons Zach and there were 8 others from the DDRC. As I was unloading the truck at the ramp I realized I had left my sleeping bag at home. Oh well not going to let it ruin the trip. The morning was about 20F and sunny with no wind. We both were in shorts and long sleeve but the sun was in full force and warming up fast. After loading boat and waiting on the others we got our shuttle run and were on the water about 11am. Our first nights destination is an island about 12 miles down and across from the Lost Pines Hyatt. Along the way we spotted a bald eagle and I reached to pull out my new Nikon camera and ready to take the shot and beep, the battery is almost dead and will not shoot. Bleeeep from me as I know the boys got a hold of the camera and ran the battery down and did not recharge it. I was told later in a family discussion that a real outdoorsman would have checked that battery before loading it and also would not have forgotten his sleeping bag. That whole thing was I had my had on the bag about to pick it up and the phone rang, well you know how the rest goes.

Zach and I arrived at the island about 3pm and immediately started gathering firewood. You could tell that the island had been washed and there was plenty of newly deposited wood from the October flood. It was astonishing to see just how high the water had been from the Halloween flood. Zach managed to find the only two trees on the island that would support his hammock and I found a indentation to lay down in for the night and cover myself with a tarp. The south wind was really whipping and the air temp dropping fast as the sun was setting with forecast lows into the upper 20s for the night. I got my fire steel out and 2 strikes had the fire lit. Dinner for the night was a big bowl of chili and grilled cheese sandwiches with peanut butter. I brought my little bugger wood stove and it worked very well to cook on that night. After dinner was down I put on all the clothes I brought and sat next to the fire for some conversation then headed to my hole and tarps. I slept until about 11:30 then I got cold. So over to the fire to get it going again then laid next to the fire the rest of the night awakening every 30 min to put more wood on. Everything was frosty in the morning.

After some hot coffee and omelets Zach and I were on the water paddling by 9am. I knew there was another DDRC member who was going to meet us at the 979 bridge on Sat. I made a call to my older son at home from college and arranged for him to take my sleeping bag and a spare camera battery to her before she got on the road on Friday. There was a significant cold front expected sometime Sat night and I really did not need another night like to one prior. Zach and I made the 979 bridge by 10am and glory bee there is my sleeping bag and camera battery, I was grateful. Then the south wind got serious and much of the rest of the day was tuck and paddle. Our days destination is a big island about 6 miles upstream from Bastrop. The front of the island is high, faces north and is open and sandy. The back of the island is tucked in the trees, low and faces south. There is not a lot of room but there was enough for Zach and I. Zach promptly found a spot for both of us to hang our hammock to some trees while I worked on firewood. The rest of the group would be camped on the front of the island. I did not want to be up there when that front came through later in the night. Dinner was ham pasta with sautéed onions, garlic, mushrooms, and red bell pepper. After dinner I walked up to the front of the island to socialize a bit and make sure everyone made it. Zach had a bit of a time getting the fire started with his fire steel due to the dampness of material on the low part of the island but he finally got it going after securing a little drier material. I filtered water for the next day got everything tied down for a blow as the forecast was for 30+ winds later. After a little time by the fire and long discussions with Zach we both retired for the night.

I was lying in my hammock watching the stars and really enjoying being in my sleeping bag when boom about 5:40am the cold front made is arrival. The wind was not so bad for us but I knew those folks on the front of the island were feeling it, especially those that put the front of their tents facing to the north. Zach and I made our breakfast and were on the water just before 8am and pulled up in Bastrop by 9:40 pushed along by the north wind. This is always a fun trip to make with my boys but this year only one of them, but any trip with them is a good one.

Here are some pictures
Zach chowing down

Osprey with lunch
Same Osprey but stopping to eat


By pinestracker
It was 20 here this morning in Longview with the ground froze and it made me think how tough (and sleepless) the night would have been for you without a sleeping bag. After your story I will move that to the number one thing on my packing list.

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