Note: Click on any photo to enlarge.
After paddling from Nichols Landing to the FM 311 bridge on Saturday, the Saturday Paddlers continued down the Upper Guadalupe River on Monday. We put in at the FM 311 crossing and paddled the 4.4 miles to the Rebecca Creek Road crossing. The river was flowing at around 142 cfs, which was adequate. With about thirty boats in total, "someone" decided to split the group into two, as about ten paddlers started the journey while the shuttle was being run. The main group caught up with the scouts at each of the two major drops - Mueller Falls and then again at Rust Falls (shown above).
The main group heads downstream from the put-in at the FM 311 bridge. In front here are Retha and Gary.
Leading the group (for a while) were Kathy, ...
... Cynthia, and Rodney.
Jon, in his new sit-on-top kayak, Rodney, and I ended up at the front of the pack. The main current took us through the impressive bald cypress trees in the background.
We caught up with the forward group at Mueller Falls. They watched us play in the rapids for a while, then proceeded ahead again. I was having too much fun running both the waterfall on river right (twice) and the chute on river left to take any photographs at Mueller Falls. After taking the left chute, Kathy took the following video of me going over the small waterfall.
The smaller group stopped for lunch at Rust Falls, where we caught up with them a second time. I decided to run the horseshoe-shaped main falls in my canoe, and made it through unscathed, although my bow did get trapped momentarily under the tree roots below the falls. I failed to make the sharp right turn in the confined space immediately following the 4-foot drop. I think my 14'3" canoe wasn't much shorter than that space. The main falls are shown in the photo at the very top of this post, next to the cypress tree.
Jon also ran the falls, without any problems. He was followed by Robert, whose kayak ended up in an almost vertical pin - the bow stuck on a rock at the bottom of the falls, the stern pointing skyward. Robert was stuck in the cockpit as water from the falls gushed in. After handing his precious paddle to Diane, Robert was able to extract himself from his kayak and plunge into the water. Jon then freed the kayak by forcing the stern over the bow, and Robert guided his boat to safety. The foam pillar supporting the front of the boat had come loose, and one foot brace had been damaged. But all's well that ends well.
Debbie and Donna enjoyed the area below the falls.
Joan below the middle section of Rust Falls.
This panoramic video view of Rust Falls was recorded by Kathy.
Sally and Diane, with the horseshoe falls in the far background.
After many of us had cooled off in the clear, refreshing water (see Kathy's video of me above), the gang proceeded downstream the short distance to the takeout at Rebecca Creek Road. This next video by Kathy shows Joline, followed by Robert and Jon, making her way through the rapids located just upstream of the takeout. Be sure to turn up the volume and listen to Joline's exclamation as her kayak bottoms out on the rocks at the bottom of the small drop.
When we reached Rebecca Creek Road, I was out of energy (not having stopped for lunch) and, despite having consumed about a gallon of water, on the verge of dehydration. With Rick's help, I was barely able to carry my canoe up to the road. And if hadn't been for Nancy insisting on driving me the sixty yards to my van, I'm not sure I would have even made it to the vehicle. Lesson learned.
About fifteen of us drove the short distance to Joan's house and wonderfully-shaded yard for a nice holiday picnic. Joan reminded us of the meaning of the Memorial Day celebration. Then the feasting began. The food (including our Beeville ham) was plentiful and delicious. A root beer float managed to revive me, and I was even able to tell a few jokes before Kathy insisted I stop. All in all, a great holiday.