Saturday, September 6, 2014

A First Visit To Peach Creek

A Shady Section Of Peach Creek
Imagine that you have been craving a long relaxing paddle for many weeks. You have loaded up the kayak and gear, and headed to northeast Houston with a plan to paddle Cypress Creek. But when you reach your destination, you find that your intended launch is no longer open. Argh!

After considering this dilemma for a few minutes, my solution was to head a bit farther out to Lake Houston Wilderness Park and explore Peach Creek by water for the first time.

This lovely park is located above Lake Houston, with its nearly five thousand wooded acres nestled between the East Fork of the San Jacinto River and Peach Creek. I had hiked there a number of times years ago, shortly after the city and county took over management from the state. The facilities have been enhanced considerably since then, and they now include a canoe & kayak launch point near the confluence of Peach and Caney Creeks.

After getting my borrowed kayak (thanks honey!) down to the water, I first tried to head upstream along Peach Creek, but I was soon stymied by shallow water. Going in the other direction proved much easier. Gliding over the barely moving water, I soon reached the junction with Caney Creek, where the channel widens considerably. While still shallow in places, the main channel was plenty deep for my kayak and there was nothing stopping me from paddling all the way down to Lake Houston!

Well, maybe one thing. I was a little hungry by this time, so I paused in the shade along the wooded bank and enjoyed my lunch while listening to the birds. After eating I paddled a bit farther downstream, having the place pretty much to myself except for a solitary fisherman. Eventually the heat of the summer sun prompted me to turn around, seeking the more narrow and shaded upstream sections of the creek once again.

On my return trip I ventured up Caney Creek for a few hundred yards until I was once again dragging my kayak on the sandy bottom. Reluctantly I turned around and made my way back to the launch point on Peach Creek.

While it may not have turned out exactly as I planned, this day's paddle was a good one none the less. I look forward to exploring more of Peach Creek (as well as the park proper) on a little cooler day this fall or winter.

More Pictures From Peach & Caney Creeks

Friday, June 20, 2014

Aloha Dreams

I struggle to know where to start in writing about the week we spent in Hawaii this this summer. It is a place unlike any other I have experienced.

I did not know that ocean water could be at once so clear and yet so many different shades of blue -- from aquamarine, to azure, to navy.

I did not realize how exciting it would be to drive and hike along the coast of Maui, while below us Pacific swells crashed against volcanic cliffs and broke on sandy beaches.

I was not prepared for the wonder of exploring reefs filled with corals and fish of all colors and sizes, and doing it in the company of curious green sea turtles.

I did not understand the remarkable nature of a place like Oahu where you can be standing on the beach one minute and striding through a dense rain forest less than an hour later, en route to to a beautiful waterfall.

It caught me off guard how quickly we settled in to this place and took it as natural to spend evenings watching the sun set over the ocean while enjoying the soothing strains of Hawaiian music.

I fear that photographs are not enough to fully capture and convey the sense of these islands, but still I offer them to you.

Photographs From Maui

Photographs From Oahu

We were moved by the beauty of this place and the graciousness of the people. And we brought a bit of the Aloha spirit with us when we departed.

Mahalo nui loa, Hawaii!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Celebration On Luces Bayou

My bride Linda on Luces Bayou
Given that Luces Bayou was the venue for our very first "paddle date", it seemed a fitting destination for our first paddle as a married couple.

So just a couple of days after our wedding, Linda and I returned there with our kayaks on a lovely late spring day.

We paddled. We reminisced. We laughed. We enjoyed the scenery and each other. It was a great way to circle back to the start of the journey of discovery that we've been on for the last couple of years, and celebrate the one that's just beginning.

More Pictures From Luces Bayou

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Revisting The West Fork Of The San Jacinto

This was one of those "I really need some time on the water" weekends. And with Lake Conroe reaching levels that hadn't been seen since the 2011 drought, I was eager to re-explore the West Fork.

On my last trip here I was able to paddle about three and a half miles upstream through the Sam Houston National Forest before reaching a logjam that I couldn't get past. But to get that far, I had to drag my kayak over or around four smaller deadfalls.

Things were a bit different this time as I made my way upstream. Most of the same deadfalls were still there. But with the water level a couple of feet higher, I was able to glide right over most of them in my kayak. This left me free to enjoy the beautiful spring day, the new green on the trees, and the sound of the birds singing in the adjoining woods.

After cruising along so easily for the first three and a half miles, I was disappointed to find the channel still blocked by the exact same logjam which ended my last exploration here. I had hoped that the higher water level would enable me to explore a mile or so farther upstream, but it wasn't to be.

So I turned and slowly made my way back south to the launch point at Stubblefield Lake. It was a wonderful, relaxing paddle. And it was great to see Lake Conroe almost full once again.

More Pictures From The West Fork

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Winter Paddle In the Bayou City

This sunny and reasonably warm winter day presented perfect opportunity for us to break our paddling drought and for Linda to try paddling her Christmas present for the first time. We launched at Sabine street and headed upstream through Tinsley Park, and then downstream under I-45. Along the way were treated to some beautiful views of the Houston skyline.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Misty Sunrise Over Caddo Lake

The most striking visual from our second visit to Caddo Lake came early one morning. Over the course of a chilly night, a thick blanket of mist formed over the surface of the lake. As morning arrived, the mist started to thin and flow and rise, almost as if it were reaching up to greet the rising sun.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Following Old River To Its Roots

This solo visit to Old River fell on a much more cooler day than my meetup group outing earlier in the month. As a result, I was able to explore more of the river than ever before. I paddled upstream to the point the channel became blocked by a mass of fallen trees, and then explored a small tributary.  As I enjoyed the beauty of the day, I had the company of a whole host of turtles like this red-eared slider, and even a kingfisher who was much less camera shy than usual. All in all, it was a nearly perfect fall paddle.

More Pictures From Old River