Shadycrest Baptist Church
Pearland, Texas

Men's Kayaking Trip
San Marcos River

Blanco's Big Bend
The Big Bend Where the Blanco Joins the San Marcos

It was a relief to reach the Blanco River. I didn't remember that this was the four-mile point in our trip, but the wide slow river free of obstructions was inviting. However, there was some tough paddling ahead because the current was so slow. My canvas deck shoes were still wet. My son Jim is ahead on my left and Louis was further ahead in the blue kayak.

This was actually a small lake behind the old Cummings Mill Dam. It is dangerous to approach the dam when the water is high. A portage has to be made to the right. I'm not sure how that's done because I didn't notice any places to get out. Maybe that's because I was concentrating on paddling and staying away from the center of the river. I was almost exhausted when I got to the dam and hadn't had water for some time.

Cautious Approach to the Dam
The river was just the right level for us to make a safe approach and portage at the right end of the dam. Although it wasn't clear to me at the time, the spillway is in the center of the dam. It's visible here as the gap between the tower and the concrete of the dam on the right. All I knew was that I wanted to stay well away from the center of the river. It was getting a little cloudy and there was a threat of rain.

We all pulled up at a shallow place at the right end of the dam. The younger men were already lowering the kayaks over the dam with a length of rope someone had brought along. The rest of us walked carefully down a concrete buttress on the downstream side of the end of the dam.

Below the dam
Louis and others are waiting for their kayaks to be lowered. Then we helped each other carry them back to the bank of the river. All the young guys headed out into the water to play around while we got everyone ready to go again.

Rounding folks up for a photo
They tried to get everyone to stop and group together long enough for a group photo before we pushed on.

The Beginning - The beginning of the trip and our float from the San Marcos City park to the swimming hole in the river above the dam of the dam at Rio Vista park.
Baptism/Rough Water - Some go around the dam at Rio Vista and some go over the dam. We continue on a swifter section of the river where we incountered more obstacles. We assembled at a dam that split the river into two parts and faced the decision of portage or tackling a rough section of the river that we had been warned not to take. The most challenging part of the river is difficult to photograph while trying to stay in the kayak, in the current and keeping the camera dry.
Slow Stretch - The Blanco River joins the San Marcos at a big bend in the river. The river was wide and deep with a slow current as it was held back by a big, old Cummings mill dam.
Final Passage - Big cypress trees. A floating pack of young tubers help me quench my thirst. Back at the camp for supper.

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Posted 3/2/06