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Down On The Bayou

2017-07-25

Sunset on the Lake

We’ve had quite a few wet days this summer, but lately the rain has been tapering off enough for the water level to drop toward low normal levels.  It’s just what we’ve needed.

The rescheduled Sunset Paddle with BREC Outdoor Adventure was stunningly beautiful out on University Lake.  We had a good turnout, and the conditions could hardly have been better.  The winds were calm, the temperature wasn’t too hot, and the skies were amazing.  It was a great way to lead into a weekend on the bayou.

Down the Bayou

This is the time of year when having a wonderfully tree-covered bayou proves its worth.  What could be better than paddling along in the shade?  We certainly were grateful for the tree cover on our last paddle trail maintenance run, as with Bayou Fountain lower than we’ve paddled it in quite a while, we had some work to do here and there most of the way down.

We did work one tree wasn’t related to the lower water level.  It (mostly) fell a while back, and we’ve been watching it for signs of it becoming a hazard.  The last few trips, it appeared to be creeping down, and a bounce test showed the hung branches to be fully dry and brittle.  It was soon to finish falling, with or without help, and rather than have it block the bayou (or start dropping sticks on passing kayakers — not at all likely, but probably possible), we took care of it.  I will say it’s easier to dismantle a bad tree while you can still saw above water.

Some Leftovers

Down in the last half mile or so, near “Screen Porch” on the Paddle Trail Map, the lower water revealed the trunk of a tree that fell earlier this summer.  By this point, Mike was quite worn down, but since he isn’t likely to be on the next work trip, we took off one section of the crown.  At that point, his low-fuel light came on, so the rest was saved for another day.  Fortunately, the trunk was deep enough that it should remain passable even with a bit less water, but I should be able to take out the rest of the crown next week.

More Leftovers

Of course, like an a Columbo rerun, there just had to be one more thing.  A relatively thin tree had fallen across the bayou just downstream of that last one, and this one’s trunk was shallow enough to be inconvenient if the water gets any lower.  Mike was tapped out, but I couldn’t leave something like that unaddressed, so he took a float break while I cut enough of the crown out so that you can paddle under the top if lower water makes the trunk side an obstruction.  So, make that two to work next weekend.   Yay!

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We also noticed that the “pommel horse” tree has now died.  This is a brand new development; it was vibrantly green last we saw it.  Well, we knew sooner or later it would go, but I always assumed it would fall still green.  Fortunately, it should be a while before insects and fungus take their toll, so we don’t have to worry about it for now, but it’s officially on the clock.  It shouldn’t be that hard to deal with when the time comes.  The species is one with hard wood that doesn’t cut very easily, but the horizontal section isn’t too, too thick.

Rain and Low Water

We had some amazing thunderstorms making quite a racket behind us all the way back to the launch, but the sky above us was blue with fluffy clouds almost all the way to the launch.  Right at the end, we finally got a cooling sprinkle, which was quite welcome.  It didn’t do anything to change the water level, of course, which was low enough that only the two long stairs were still submerged.  It’s likely to be even lower next week, which should make for a productive work day and basically zero current for all the paddlers coming behind us.  We’re looking forward to it.


This just in:  By request, we’re doing an easy, fun paddle on Bayou Fountain this Saturday morning, July 29th.  Come join us with your canoe or kayak, or reserve one (or more) of our canoes.  Contact us for more details or to make your reservation.  (Reservations available until at least Friday night, and possibly even Saturday morning right up until launch at 8am.)

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