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Hail to the Bayou!

2017-03-29

Wadder go down da hooooooole.

Rachel decided to come out for a little paddle trail maintenance run on a slightly damp Saturday morning.  We got a bit more of an adventure than she bargained for.

Storms rolled through in the morning as I was loading everything up and heading to the park, but by the usual 8am launch time, the weather was looking good enough to hit the bayou.  The plan was to take advantage of the low water to take out some of the collectors on the first mile or two downstream from the park before heading back early so she could head to work.  Perfectly normal plan.

Tree-ups.

With the water conveniently low, jumping into the bayou and pulling things out of the bottom was an option.  It’s much easier to pull the remains of a small tree when you’re standing on the bottom (in the bottom?) than working from a canoe.  Of course, it’s also more work, as “walking” across (through?) the silty, branchy bottom isn’t easy.  Still, it’s fun to lift a tree and slog it to the bank.

I sawed, I sawed a sunken tree.

It’s also much easier to saw when you’re fixed in place (for various muddy values of “fixed”).  We managed to take out several branchy things that had been catching things during low water.  Soon enough, it was about time to paddle back for the scheduled early return.  And that’s when another line of big thunderstorms started rolling in.  Time to skedaddle!

Hailstone

We don’t recall hail being in the forecast, but scratch “Paddle in a hailstorm.” off our list of things we never bothered to list.  It was mostly pea-sized hail (with occasional larger hailstones, as pictured), so we decided to forgo sheltering in the now raging torrent under the Palmetto House and double-time it back to the park.  When we got back, the drainpipe where we’d put in was practically a firehose, so we took advantage of the new harbor at the paddle launch construction area and made landfall there.  (Did we say recently how much we’re going to enjoy it when the launch proper is open?)

On deck...

Speaking of the launch, here’s the current state as of the weekend.  The water level had shot up from the second line of thunderstorms.  At this level, Rackley Bridge was about half a foot into the water, requiring portage.  The new deck was standing proud, so the launch should pretty much be perfect for any non-apocalyptic water level.

High-water launch.

We still need to do some work between the 1- and 2-mile markers, but since it’s low-water work, Mike and I scrubbed our plans for second run last weekend.  Everything should be flowing fine at the current levels.  Next weekend, April 1st, we’ll be at The Backpacker in Baton Rouge showing off PaddleBR during their annual Tent and Camp Sale event.  More Sunset Paddles are coming up from BREC Outdoor Adventure, and we’ll be at Louisiana Earth Day on the 22nd.  This is turning into a busy month, but it’s going to be a blast.  We’ll see you out there.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Victoria permalink
    2017-03-30 8:58pm

    What an adventure!!

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