Take a Hike Tuesday was superseded by Up the River Without a Paddle Monday. Memorial Day, May 26, 2008, we headed for the Columbus Paddle Trail in Columbus, TX on the Colorado River. Our outfitter was Howell Canoe Livery where you will find the friendliest folks around. They'll get you fitted with all of your canoeing/kayaking needs whether it is a day float or a long term camping/canoeing trip.
We ended up renting a canoe and a kayak which came with PFDs, paddles, some rope, and a map of the river. Before starting out we were given a talk of hazards and places to explore on the river.
Once we put in, we almost immediately stopped at a small island for some exploring. We found several clam shells and pieces of petrified wood and some interesting rocks. We were told that arrowheads and teeth could be found but we didn't take the time to search very hard for them. We had 6 miles of river to cover!
While on the island we did come across a nest of killdeer eggs. They blended in amazingly well with the rocks!
The paddling was going great and we were all having a good time (except for when someone would rock the boat a little too much and there would be screams and threats coming from the canoe). Everything was running smooth until we ran into some heavy headwinds. There were some gusts that had to be 20-25mph which is not too good if you are in a canoe. There were even a few whitecaps.
Chuck was in the kayak at this point and I had Rachel in the bow while I was in the stern. We were having a really tough time controlling that canoe and spun around in circles down the river some. Chuck finally came over and tied the canoe to his waist and helped us get through the strong winds. It was an exhausting stretch of the river.
We stopped on a sandbar for lunch which was sandwiches, pickles, chips, fruit snacks, water and granola. After lunch, it was time for some splashing in the water despite the pictures of hellgramites I had shown the kids on the internet before the trip. Yes, those scary looking grubs actually live in the Colorado River.
Once in the canoe and kayak (my turn in the yak) we headed up Cummins Creek to explore. There was one section that had cotton from Cottonwood trees falling from the sky and floating in the water that was particularly beautiful. It looked like snow in summer. Very beautiful and relaxing. We also saw a snake swimming across the water but when I tried to paddle up to him he went under the water.
After coming out of the creek, we stopped and Rachel attempted to get in the yak but fell right back into the water. These things are not easy to get in and out of! I have heard that the sit on top kinds are easier. This was not one of those. :)
Once everyone was situated we paddled for a while longer, saw some beautiful birds including an osprey and stopped at another sand bar for some swim time. While I was sitting in the water some ugly larval stage of a critter kept hanging on to my legs. I got out and sat in the canoe.
Off again and we came to something called "The Wall" which was in ruins. It marked the end of our trip. After passing under the railroad bridge and Hwy 90 bridge we took out at Beasons Park and were picked up by the livery shuttle service.
It was a wonderful trip and we can't wait to go back again. We slept so good that night and had some hearty appetites.
Lessons learned: don't go when heavy winds are expected and always put sunscreen on before you are sunburned.