Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Paddlers - Guadalupe River

With the promise by Joline of a "bubble" of water moving down the river from the recent rain, thirteen paddlers showed up for the trip from the Zoeller Lane crossing to the Sisterdale bridge. It was difficult to discern whether the group was more excited about the possibility of a better stream flow or the prospect of free beer pledged by our leader if the water did not materialize. Well, there was a little more water, as the river was running at a nice 55 cfs according to the Comfort gauge. I guess we'll have to wait for that refreshing beverage.

Note: Left click on any photograph to enlarge.

Why do I have so many photos of restaurants in my Saturday Paddlers collection? Robert, Sandra, Jackie, Joline (a/k/a as our fearless leader), Martha, Mike F., Mike S., Bing (Captain Ahab), and Miguel gather at Rudy's in Leon Springs.

Bing was heard muttering under his breath "I'll follow him around the Horn, and around the Norway maelstrom, and around perdition's flames before ..." as we waited for the shuttlers to return to the put-in. I did notice a slight limp afterwards.

Martha caught unawares.

Joline eyes a warmly-wrapped scarecrow.

Ahoy there. Ready to depart on the adventure.

Sandra hasn't quite mastered the Girls Gone Wild thing.

Susan and Mike enjoying the peace and quiet. Well, almost.

At the lunch stop, Bing continued his quest, and was heard to cry out: "From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. Ye damned [Guadalupe bass]."

Joline describes where the pain caused by the photographer is located.

It was a very strenuous day.

Mike - while still dry.

Sandra and Katie examine a tree and rock.

Robert maneuvering his long boat.

Traffic jam at Violet Rapid.

Some were less brave, ...

... but celebrated nonetheless.

A splash and a smile - must be Joline.

Heel, girl. Robert and his obedient kayak go for a walk.

Not another restaurant! Yes, the trip ends with drinks (and even a little Mexican food) at El Rio Restaurant in Boerne.

Note: To access 18 more photographs from this outing, click here to be transported to my Flickr photostream, and then click on "Slideshow" in upper right of Flickr screen.

P.S. For those needing one more quote from Bing: "Sleep? That bed is a coffin, and those are winding sheets. I do not sleep, I die." Cheers!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Paddlers - Nueces River

Eight paddlers in six kayaks and a canoe ventured onto the Nueces River north of Uvalde. Recent rains had replenished the river's flow to a barely navigable 64 cfs, as measured at the Laguna gauge station. We put the boats into the water at Friday Crossing on CR 408, and the trip ended about 4.5 river (or river bottom) miles later at the 19-mile bridge.

Note 1: Left click on any photo to enlarge.

Note 2: Click here to access 22 more photographs from this outing, then click on "Slideshow" in upper right of Flickr screen.

The group rendezvoused at Dora's Place in Uvalde for breakfast. For some reason, Susan and I were running a little late - we didn't even have time to stop at Haby's in Castroville to grab some pastries - and arrived just a few minutes before the scheduled departure time. Seated around the breakfast table are Nancy, Robert, Joline, Susan, Eva, Bob, and Randy. Randy lives in the area and, although not able to join us on the river, showed up for the camaraderie. He was nice enough to lead us through town on a shortcut to Highway 55, so we were able to make up the time lost to the scintillating conversation at the restaurant. And Joline made sure that everyone understood that the Hwy. 55 signs did not refer to the speed limit.

Joline tries to start a wave at the put-in, but Susan and Nancy refuse to go along. Actually, the first 200 yards of the trip involved a lot of scraping and some walking, so a real wave would have been welcome.

Eva waits for the shuttlers to return.

Why does this soaking wet paddler think that her advice as to the best route will be accepted by anyone else?

Sky and Joline compete in the "who can stay in her boat the longest" competition.

Robert and Nancy work their way through the shallow rapid.

Nancy tries the new sideways technique.

Eva looks for the best route.

Bob shows off the Exxon Valdez approach.

Susan (still wet) to the rescue!

A local washerwoman scrubs the passing boats for spare change.

The lunch stop was made just upstream from the Laguna gauge (tower in background).

The photographer is toasted with frozen margaritas held high.

Perhaps influenced by Robert's suggestion (and the margaritas), I try a rope swing along the river bank.

Very graceful - look out below!

A few points were deducted for the less-than-clean entry, but overall I was satisfied with the judges' scores.

Joline glides by the rocky bluffs.

Don't look back, Robert. Someone may be gaining on you.

Sky working hard.

Susan searching for divine inspiration as she controls the canoe from the stern position.

At the conclusion of the trip, Robert, Susan, Nancy, Joline, and yours truly drove to Leakey to dine on the great Italian food at Vinny's. Some of the less sophisticated members (I won't mention names, but the ringleader was seated to my right) spoiled the atmosphere by mixing the remains of the frozen margaritas with some of the very fine red wine. Well, actually it was a very cheap red wine.

West Fork of the Frio River

Then it was on to Joline's camp houses along the West Fork of the Frio River. As the paddlers arrived, the sun behind them illuminated the hills across the river from the houses.

Did I mention that Robert was quite relaxed?

A walk at dusk along the river.

A rare sighting of a pair of river wraiths.

Sunday Morning

An early morning walk took Susan and me across the river and up the mountain.

Are we there yet?

Some wildflowers and a redbud tree greeted the hikers.

Another friendly greeting. Fortunately, there was no banjo music to be heard.

On the return, we crossed Bluff Creek once, then again below this dam.

The rocky ledges of the West Fork create interesting features.

Ending just as we started - around the breakfast table.