Saturday, October 01, 2005

Brazos River Expedition

Against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind
Well I’m older now and still
Against the wind
Bob Seager (Against The Wind)

Today, five brave souls entered the Brazos River near Lake Whitney and only 3 came out alive. (The other two are still alive, just not so brave anymore.) Three of our party pushed forward with great gusto and would have finished this trip in under 4 hours. The other two, myself included, pushed forward with mediocre gusto and still finished in just a little over 4 hours.
Overall, the conditions were perfect! The temperature was a steady 85 degrees with nice cloud cover and a soft breeze all the way until we reached the cache location. Unfortunately, the water level was a little low and we had to drag over the rocks a couple of times. Some of us did have a few balance problems at first and tipped over within the first 10 feet of our voyage (ok, it was just me). Because there wasn't much water flow from the dam, we did have to work pretty hard for the first half.
Once we reached the cache location, it was an amazing experience! After thousands of years of erosion, the water had carved its way deep under one of the embankments. Since the water level was so low, we were able to kayak under this overhang and that was an incredible view! The climb up was a little scary since a fall would have been about 16 feet down into shallow water over rocks and boulders. The cache tower itself might be better renamed "Ivy Tower" since one entire side of the tower is covered in my three-leafed friend. Once the cache was signed by all, we took a break for some snacks before continuing down the river another 5 miles.
The middle portion of our trip was fairly uneventful except for a brief run-in with a couple of locals. This brought back horrid memories of the movie "Deliverance." We all had choruses of "Dueling Banjos" running through our heads and I half expected one of them to holler out "This river don't go to Aquilla. You done taken a wrong turn." Soon, they got back in their airboat adorned with confederate flags and went to another part of the river to continue their business, and we continued down the river with ours.
Those last few lines of "Against the Wind" describe in great detail the last portion of this trip. By this point in the morning, the sun had escaped from the clouds. The wind had also escaped from somewhere and was fleeing right towards us! Luckily, to our great advantage, the river became much narrower and we had a fairly steady current pushing us forward against the wind that was doing everything in its power to push us back. Finally, with the bridge in sight, we pushed forward and managed to complete this remarkable journey in just over 4 hours!


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