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Bayou Fountain — May 2, 2015


Bayou Fountain — May 2, 2015

Surveying the scene

The week of high water left some work for us on Bayou Fountain.  Turns out, the insects were more troublesome than the leftovers.

With the Spanish Lake moonlight paddle only hours away, we figured that we’d see how much work the high water had left us.  At its highest point after the recent rains, Bayou Fountain at Bluebonnet had reached 10.96 feet.  At that level, it’s likely that the deck of Rackley Bridge was submerged (or at least had water lapping at it).  The bottom of the bridge is at about 8.3 feet on the Bluebonnet gauge, and the bayou was above that for quite some time.

Under the bridge.

It had finally dropped low enough for us to duck down in the canoes and slide under, but in a sit-on-top kayak, it was a bit different.  We had one along with us for the day’s trip (his first time on Bayou Fountain).  It seemed easiest on the way downstream to do an over/under, so we gave a hand as he hopped onto the bridge and then back into his kayak on the other side.  (We’ve done that a few times ourselves — it’s less work than hopping around on the bank.)

Dismantling a tree

There were indeed some minor obstructions that had formed from long logs washing down.  Most of them were easily dealt with.  The bridge, however, had caught an entire downed tree.  The root ball was at the bridge with the top facing downstream.  We left it alone on the way down the bayou, but on the return trip, we dismantled it as much as possible, turning it into twigs and short logs.  We’ll probably take a few more pieces off when the water drops more.

Another kayaker.

We made it to Bayou Manchac by about 11:30am.  It reminded us a bit of an “easy” day back when we were first clearing the obstructions to create the paddle trail, but compared to our usual paddle trail maintenance runs, we’d have to call it somewhere in the “moderate” range.  (Fortunately, we still consider it “easy”.)  Then we started back toward the park and started seeing more paddlers.

Clear this.

We’d saved the big bridge blockage to work on the way back upstream.  We figured that if we ran low on time before the Spanish Lake moonlight paddle, we could always just come back Sunday.  Thankfully, the rest of the bayou wasn’t too bad at all, so we had plenty of time to attack the catch.  We dismantled the big tree, and then we started pulling and sawing up log after log after log.  A bit over two hours of work later, most of it was taken care of.  There’s a bit left, but nothing that should cause a problem before we take it out on the next trip.

More kayakers.

While we were working the bridge, two more kayakers passed by.  Then, as we were exiting, another pair showed up after a brief excursion upstream to the Siegen/Burbank bridge and back.  They had apparently forgotten insect repellant, and the mosquitoes and gnats were as bad as any day I can recall.  (I may have envied Mike’s head net just a bit… or maybe quite a bit.)  Still, even a brief trip counts, eh?  Seeing eight paddlers out on the Bayou Fountain was a great way to make the work feel worthwhile, and the Spanish Lake moonlight paddle would be an excellent way to cap such a nice day…

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