Kayak #7, Buffalo Bayou, May 23, 2020

The only kayak-able  part of Buffalo Bayou I had not done was a 5 mile  section from the West Belt to Briarbend Park. This turned out to be a surprisingly fun little section with several small rapids and cool animal sitings.

Put-in spot under the West Belt
No idea…

I biked to Briarbend Park,  left my bike and hiked out to the West Belt. There is a pretty good put-in spot under the freeway (i.e. no mud, no brambles).

Cool tree #1
So that’s where the storm drains go…
Cool tree #2
And, just in case you forgot you are in the city.
Harvey damage? Clearly someone had a bad day.

I saw lots of birds and the largest turtle I have ever seen – it’s shell was at least 3 feet across. And a very large fish – at least 3 feet long –  surfaced next to my boat. The bayou is teeming with fish.

And flying

The pullout point is just past some rapids which made for an exciting exit.

Pull-out spot.

And it is important to hit this pull-out as the next one is 3-4 miles downstream.

Kayak #6, Braes Bayou, May 21, 2020

For my first attempt at a “channelized” section of a Bayou, I picked Braes Bayou from just inside Loop 610 back to Hermann Park.  Large swaths of Houston Bayous were turned into concrete ditches in  the middle of the last century for flood mitigation (the efficacy of which is open to debate).

My hiking setup – ready to start inflating.
Ready to put in….
… down these “escape” stairs.

Getting in (and out) of these sections isn’t always easy. Fortunately most of the bayous have escape stairs (for people who fall in, I would guess) every half mile or so. And that is how I entered (and exited).

The view from the water.
Heading under another bridge.

I expected this to be less fun because the view is pretty monotonous, but I was surprised. The water moved much faster than in the more natural sections so I had to pay more attention to stay in the middle (the depth is not constant, the sides are very shallow) and there were several small rapid sections. And…. any day on the water is a good day!

Requisite selfie1
Medical Center.
Pull-out spot.

I missed my planned egress point because I was moving so fast and had to exit at the next available spot.  I had enough fun to try another channelized bayou – thinking of White Oak Bayou.