Sunday, August 26, 2012

In With The Old

At this point in my life, I have no idea how many times I have traveled Interstate 10 between Houston and the Louisiana border. I was raised in Lake Charles while my grandparents were still living in Houston, so that stretch of road was intimately familiar to the family station wagon. Now that I call Houston home and my parents remain in Louisiana, my RAV4 has traced the same path in reverse countless times. And on every trip, about an hour east of Houston, I have crossed a wide bridge bearing the legend Old and Lost Rivers.

In moments of idle fancy I have wondered which part was old and which was lost, but the flashes of curiosity never went any farther -- until I bought my kayak. Now I see the area with different eyes. The surrounding Trinity River basin is a natural treasure with countless options for paddling. Over the centuries, the Trinity has meandered over miles of bottom-land on its way to the bay. As it has wandered, it has left behind a maze of bayous, sloughs, and old river channels like the Old and the Lost.

I have already already written about my paddles in the Trinity National Wildlife Refuge at Champion Lake. This weekend I finally had the chance to to get better acquainted with the Old River.

We launched our kayaks at the Old River bridge on FM1409 and headed slowly upstream. The water was placid except for the occasional roll of a gar. The banks were lined with cypress, pecan and other hardwoods, often with an understory of palmetto. There were occasional signs of development: a ranch, a few houses around a golf course, a few pipeline crossings. But mostly there were heaping helpings of peace and beauty.

As we continued upstream, the channel slowly narrowed and the welcome canopy of trees closed in overhead. After a little over three miles we turned back toward the launch and enjoyed the scenery a second time on the return trip.

On some cooler day I still want to explore the area downstream section. And then of course there's the Lost River. And Lake Charlotte.  And . . .

More Pictures from the Old River

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