Note: Left click on any photo to enlarge.
Eleven paddlers in one canoe and nine kayaks made the trip from the Power Olympic Outdoor Center at the I-35 access road to the crossing at Scull Road. Because of the longer-than-usual distance of 8 miles on the river, we made an earlier-than-usual start, meeting at the put-in at 9:30 a.m. That timing worked out well, as we beat all but the initial vanguard of tubers who clog the river starting at Westerfield crossing. After passing under the bridge there, we passed all of the tubers within a few minutes and made it to Pecan Park in time for a quick lunch stop before continuing down the river just as the first tubes began arriving. From there on it was clear sailing (or paddling). The river was flowing at about 87 cfs. The photo above shows Miguel, who planned this trip (we were sadly once again without Dear Leader), at the falls where the diversion channel which starts at Thompson Island rejoins the river.
Robert and I decided to run Cape Falls in order to avoid the portage at Thompson Island (well, actually, because we enjoyed the challenge). Looks like we may have been just a little too far to the right.
Water pours in over the starboard gunwale as we calmly take corrective action. Well, maybe not all that calmly, and perhaps not all that correctly.
We somehow avoided capsizing, and then guided the now-heavy canoe through the small rapid backwards. Not elegant, but effective. After emptying the water ballast from our boat, we continued down the San Marcos.
Robert held the canoe in place while I took the title photograph of Miguel at the diversion channel falls.
After making the portage at Cummings Dam, we made our first rest and cooling off stop. Here are a somewhat soaked Robert, Tom, Julie, and Cynthia.
Bob floats by.
I think this is the same Great Egret (formerly known as a Common Egret or American Egret) which we had spotted two weeks earlier in the stretch of river between Pecan Park and Cottonseed Rapid, and which is pictured in my blog post for that trip. Note that the egret appears to be missing the lower part of one of its legs. It let me approach remarkably close, as evidenced by this photo taken with my standard 18-70 mm zoom lens.
The egret took to the air once I moved within about 20 feet of it.
Feeding in the same area was this immature Little Blue Heron, which flew from the water to an overhanging tree.
Robert, having taken over the stern position after our lunch stop, patiently kept the canoe close by as I plodded around in the muck taking bird photos.
As though to make our brief stop complete, a Red-tailed Hawk soared overhead. At this point, I decided to mount the telephoto lens onto the camera, just in case any more wildlife decided to present itself.
Further downstream, I was happy I had made the lens change. As we came around a bend in the river, we spotted an immature Yellow-Crowned Night Heron near the bank.
It eventually flew to a safer perch.
The heron grooms itself.
Reaching Cottonseed Rapid meant that our journey was almost at an end. Bob made his way through the rapid effortlessly, followed by Gary.
Julie playing in the surf as she enjoys observing the mayhem developing upstream.
Tom decided to inspect the vegetation more closely.
Was her confidence misplaced?
Her triumphant look answers that question.
Miguel focuses intently on his route.
Back on his steed, Tom manuevers through the rapid.
His hat tells the story.
Bob, Bill, and Cynthia in the background, as Gary continues to cool off and Julie keeps on surfing.
Meanwhile, back at the entrance to Cottonseed, Mike has gone for a swim. I meant to do that!
Mike lines up his approach carefully.
Mike makes it through unscathed.
Our take-out at the Scull Road crossing was just a few minutes downstream from Cottonseed. It took us a little over four hours from the time we launched until we were loading our boats back onto our vehicles.
Note: For 49 additional phots of this trip, click here to be transferred to my Flickr page, then click on either "Slideshow" or "Detail."