Spring Bloom

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Exploratory Paddle on the Upper Reaches of Cypress Creek, Houston, Texas

Natalie had been invited to explore an upper section of Cypress Creek, which runs though a highly developed area in Northwest Houston. Because of the heavy rain, the trip was postponed until the Friday after I got to Galveston. So I got to go along with the leader, Tom, and two other friends, Dave and Joe, as well as Natalie.

We had to drive one and a half hours through moderate to heavy traffic to get to the put -in at Collins Park. The park is part of a green belt along the creek and lots of people were out biking and walking the creekside path. But we were the only ones paddling from there. I got a clue as to why when we brought the boats down near the water. The banks are very steep and scary.  There are stairs made of rocks, that lead down to the water but there are pieces of concrete and in the water and it looked dangerous from the top.  But with the guys to help, we all got our boats down to the water and boarded them without incident.


Joe putting in

Me putting in with cameras posed to take disaster pictures

The stream itself, while muddy from recent rains, is quite beautiful. It has lots of curves so there is always the anticipation of what will be around the next curve .And it has high bank,s so you seldom see signs of the big city that is close by.  I took lots of pictures before I realized I had not put the memory card back in my camera. So all these pictures come from Natalie and Joe.


Coming through 

Tom was doing this trip because a group of people were  to clean up the stream  the next daym and he was to tell them about dangerous places and about the kinds of trash in the creek. So we first paddled upstream to the next bridge, finding lots of tires along the short way. Paddling on up under the bridge  would have been extremely difficult due to broken pieces of concrete to dodge while trying to follow a very narrow and shallow channel with fast-moving water.  So we turned around and started our trip downstream.


This tree wasn't an impediment

I went river right under this tree.  River left didn't have an outlet

This was one of the slowest paddles I've been on. We took several hours to complete only seven and a half miles.  But we stopped a lot and had to take turns going though the tight places.  Some of the group took a small detour up a little side stream.  They reported seeing signs of lots of different animals, including river otter.

Hum. Another foot of water and we could go culvert exploring


Tracks
We also enjoyed a leisurely lunch stop under a bridge.


Lunch stop coming up

All the lunch bunch except photographer, Natalie

But even as slowly as we traveled, we finally got to the bridge on Kuykendahl Road. We had another really steep take-out.  I was winded from helping Natalie carry her kayak up the numerous steps. But it was potentially  a lot less slippery than was our put-in.


Going Uuuuuupppp

Keep going, just one more kayak to come up

 This is another really dangerous place to try and paddle through.  We saw lots of broken concrete and rebar and the water wanted to carry boaters right through it all. This area will probably need some heavy equipment to clean out the hazards just below our take-out.


Remains of an earlier bridge

But 'twas a lovely day on a stream that felt miles away from civilization - at least until we fought traffic for an hour and a half to get back to Natalie's home in Galveston.