Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Paddlers - Guadalupe River - Requiem for a Camera

The Saturday Paddlers gathered to run one of their favorite sections of the Upper Guadalupe River, the stretch from the Zoeller Lane crossing to the Sisterdale bridge. The river flow had been steadily declining since the last rain showers, and the Comfort gauge indicated that the river was running at only 63 cfs. This was still an improvement over the level during the lengthy drought. However, the new Zoeller Lane bridge, while providing a more secure crossing for vehicles, appears to have been designed to also make river access more difficult than before. Sorry, Kendall County, but we were not deterred.

Note: Click on any image to enlarge.

Don and Cynthia enjoying the scenery.

Joline and Nancy desperately signaling to indicate the preferred route (river right) through some shallow rapids. Kathy, in the turquoise kayak, ignores them and pays the price. To be honest, everyone else ignored them, too. But don't let them know.

Martha shyly glides by.

Nancy was having fun.

Kelley leading the wagon train past Dear Leader, who captained from the bow of my canoe.

Susan leading Reiko.

Nancy G., with Kathy still struggling in the background.

Kathy using a novel approach to test her new river boots.

Please don't ask!

Reiko, Anne, ...

... Martha, and Katie all made it safely around the boulder.

We did have one mishap along the way. As Kathy came around a sharp bend in the river, she became tangled in some tree roots extending down from the undercut bank. The next boat was swept into hers, and over went Kathy into the water. The good news is that Kathy's camera is waterproof. The bad news is that it was not attached to anything and quickly slipped down to a watery grave. We searched the river bottom as well as we could, both there and further downstream where the current slowed, but to no avail. Then we came up with a plan. Since the water level was declining day by day from its already low level (63 cfs), we would return the following week with our snorkeling gear and try to find the camera. What we didn't count on were the heavy rains less than three days later. By Tuesday morning, the river was racing along at nearly 5,000 cfs! I guess a replacement camera is in order. Followers of Kathy's blog, Hometown Tourist, are already lamenting the lack of high-quality photos in her recent posts. No, the smartphone camera is not up to the task.

After taking out at the Sisterdale bridge, some of us met at the nearby Sisterdale Smokehouse to chow down on their delicious BBQ. We just happened to be there at the right time - they are open only on the first and third weekends of each month. Shown above are Kathy, Joline, Larry, Reiko, Susan, Nancy, and Sandra. I think everyone was happy with their orders. And I was even happier, because Joline picked up the tab for Kathy and me - something about payment for my having done all the paddling in the canoe!

Note: For an additional ten photographs of this outing, click here to be magically transported to my Flickr page, then click on "Slideshow."