Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Paddlers - Guadalupe River

Although the stream flow had declined a lot since the previous weekend, the Guadalupe River was still running at 60 to 61 cfs on this Saturday. This was better than what we had been seeing most of the year. And it was enough to entice 21 paddlers in four canoes (probably the most of these elegant craft in quite a while) and 16 kayaks to make the trip from Sultenfuss Crossing (and the Bergheim high bridge), past the Edge Falls Road crossing, down to Guadalupe River State Park. Included were several nice folks I had not seen on the river before, and I unfortunately did not get all of their names.

As it turned out, the distance of about 7 miles was perhaps a little too long for this water level. But the first segment of this trip has always been one of my favorite stretches of river. The primary reasons: Rock Pile Rapid and Dogleg Rapid.

Rock Pile Rapid

Julie picks the best route as David watches from below.

Vic didn't quite hit the sweet spot, and ended up beached on the rocks.

Russ' wife's kayak insisted on doing the same, and things looked a little desperate.

Susan was laughing with the paddlers.

With water spilling over his deck, Miguel handles the rapid with aplomb.

Joline's run was a little more eventful, but ended smoothly.

Amy pretty much followed Joline's course, and here digs deep with her paddle.

Reiko got caught sideways at the top, but recovered well.

One of our newer paddlers, showed off by going through backwards.

Claire made it look easy. Note: Left click on any photo to enlarge.

As one Nancy did the same, ...

... another Nancy observed the show from an eddy.

Mike lost style points for using an illegal paddle push, ...

... but still finished high in the standings.

With everyone through the rapid safely, the group heads downriver, leaving Kathy to wait patiently for the photographer.

At our lunch stop just above the next named rapid, Mike searches for photo opportunities.

As usual, the real reason for the trip was the lunch stop. The crowd seemed to enjoy the ice cream sandwiches Kathy and I brought for dessert.
Dogleg Rapid

Susan took over the camera to take these shots of paddlers negotiating the drop at Dogleg Rapid.

An unknown family (little girl is hidden behind her mom) added some excitement.

Kathy shows off her one-handed air stroke.

Towards the end of the second leg (the stretch from Edge Falls Road to the park), we stopped for another rest and a refreshing dip in the river.

One of life's little pleasures.

For 40 additional photos from this trip, click here to be transported to my Flickr page, then click on "Slideshow" in the upper right of that page. Do it now before you forget!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Paddlers - Guadalupe River

With the recent rain causing a sudden spike in the water level, the Saturday Paddlers were able to return to the Guadalupe River. The route chosen was Zoeller Lane to Sisterdale, and twenty paddlers were there to enjoy it. We were lucky with our timing, as the river was running at just under 200 cfs. It had peaked at 251 cfs a day earlier.

As seen in these two photos taken from the Zoeller Lane bridge, the river was higher than we had seen it in almost two years.

The lunch break was taken at the usual spot.

Mike was ready to take the traditional leaning tree group portrait. However, the tree was covered with ants, so we did not climb onto it.

Joline was at her elegant best.

The group readies for Mike to take the photo.

Below is Mike's nice photo of the merry band and the swarming ants.

Note: Left click on any photo to enlarge.

After leaving the river at the Sisterdale Road crossing, nine of us met for dinner at El Rio Mexican Restaurant in Boerne. I think the waitress was sorry they let us in. I was on my best behaviour, but I can't vouch for Miguel and the rest of the group.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Saturday Paddlers - San Marcos River

Labor Day 2009

After paddling down to Staples two days earlier, the Saturday Paddlers took advantage of the Monday holiday to sneak in a second trip on the San Marcos River in a single weekend. Thirteen paddlers participated in the paddle from Staples to Fentress. The river was still running at about 87 cfs.

With the blessing of a friendly landowner, we were able to launch our boats just below the Staples Dam. For some strange reason, I was the last to get my kayak into the water. The group patiently waits for me in the photo below.

Miguel maneuvers through some pilings a short distance downstream from the put-in.

Michael and Joline.

The newest member of the Saturday Paddlers forgot to bring his boat.

Tom made it under a downed tree unscathed, ...

as did David and his helmet, ...

Sandra, ...

Nancy, ...

Melinda, ...

... and Amy.

Joline must have decided to get a closer look at the tree.

All's well that ends well.

I almost forgot Cynthia.

Here's the whole group (minus the photographer) at our lunch stop. As you can see, we had to avoid numerous "landmines." That became a little more difficult after the frozen margaritas had been served. Pictured are Miguel, Nancy, Sandra, Amy, Cynthia, Michael, David, Joline (a/k/a Dear Leader), Robert, Melinda, Tom, Bob, and my ice chest.

We stopped later for a refreshing dip in the river. It was made even a little more refreshing by one of the less mature members of the group and his water gun.

Joline's kayak appeared to be less cooperative than usual. What an interesting expression on her face!

Reminder: Left click on any photo to enlarge.

Robert's and Bob's passages through that turn were less eventful.

Since the restaurant in Fentress at which we had planned to eat was closed, we instead again made the trek to Lockhart to try another of its legendary BBQ emporiums. This time it was Black's Barbecue, established in 1932. Here Miguel, Amy, and Joline fill their plates at the buffet style sides bar. There was quite a selection. The food was good but, especially compared to Chisholm Trail Barbeque, where we had eaten two days earlier, was overpriced.

None of us left hungry.

Note: For 33 more photos of this paddling trip, click here.