This was a trip I have been looking forward to as I have never been on the Mulberry River but had heard a lot about it from friends. I arrived at Byrd’s Adventure Center Thursday afternoon. It was a nice cool spring day and everything was green. I was meeting 9 other members of the Dallas Downriver Club for some base camping and day paddling the Mulberrry on Friday and Saturday. There had been some typical spring rains in the days prior and the river at Byrd’s was only about 2.5 on the gage. While not optimum it would have to do. The group usually paddles from Wolfpen put in upstream down to Byrd’s or further down. Reports from the front office said it was expected to be a bit bony.
Of course since we were base camping I brought some significant food. Thursday night I cooked salmon steaks, baked potato, salad, and pineapple. After dinner we sat around the campfire, told stories and watched a beautiful near full moon light up the night sky. All of us looking forward to the next days adventure.
Friday morning and we all got going putting breakfast down and packing up for the day. We decided to put in at Redding and paddle down to Campbell’s Cemetery. This is about a 14-15 mile paddle. The Redding put in is along Hwy 215 about 4 miles downstream from Byrd’s. The Redding campground is quite nice with water, bathroom, and showers. Campbell’s Cemetery is a little drive but not hard to find. You go back to Hwy 23 and south a bit until you come to Shores Lake Rd. Take this dirt road for about 6 miles and you will see a sign for Campbell’s Cemetery.
This section of river is scenic and at the water level we had kind of rocky but passable. At about mile 17 there was downed tree blocking the main river. You could not see it until you were just about to enter the rapid that would seep you down to it. There was no way under or around it. The portage around it would have been through thick brush (Poison Ivy) and over several large downed trees. Also if someone would have gone down it, it and it would have been a sure pin and very difficult to retrieve the boat. We all elected to eat lunch on river right on a nice rocky shoal. The main river ran to the left but there was also a skinny shallow section to the right. After lunch we paddled, drug, scooted, cussed our way through this for about 1/8 of a mile until it met back up with the river. There were multiple class I and II rapids along this section which made for a fun day. We arrived at Campbell’s about 4pm. The take out at Campbell’s is a long rocky ledge on river right, there is also a sign up in the trees. That night we had a brief set of thunderstorms once we were back to camp. I cooked steaks covered with bacon and bleu cheese, baked potatoes, and pineapple.
Saturday we decided to paddle the lower Mulberry from Campbell’s Cemetery to Mill Creek. After discussing the take out with the owner of Byrd’s it turn out we were told that the river right Mill Creek take out was not easily accessible. The river left take out turned out to be a 33 mile drive for 12 miles downriver. This section of river was also very scenic with man class I and II rapids and maybe one class III. The turns and large rocks in the river made this a fairly challenging stretch with a couple of people coming out of their boats. There were several rapids that I elected to wear my helmet. We all finished the day getting off of the river a bit before 5pm and no injuries.
This was an excellent first time on the Mulberry and I know I will be back up there soon with my boys. Here are a few of many pictures.