Wilbarger Paddle Trail
FM 969 Bridge to Fisherman’s Park
November 8th, 2014
by Terri Morgan
A handful of us got together for a trip down the Colorado River the weekend of November 8. It was a return trip for some and a first time for others. After shuttling and arriving back at the bridge, we launched into the flowing water of the Colorado. The river was pretty as always and the trees were just beginning to turn color. The weather was perfect for us. Along the way, there were reminders of the flood on Halloween 2013. Debris could be seen high in the trees, easily 20 feet higher from where we were paddling. Trees had been uprooted, stripped of bark, and were wedged in the tops of trees that were still standing along the shore. Turtles were abundant as well as birds.
Upon reaching the half-way point at the island, we landed and fanned out to select our space to pitch our tents. We found the island to be intact as not much had changed since I had been there about three years prior. While walking around exploring, I saw several deer tracks and some pretty good size cat tracks. After we were all settled we still had half of the afternoon to kill and spent the time visiting, exchanging information on the latest gear and telling stories. Later in the evening we had company as two groups of people came ashore and set up their camps. We had a good campfire and each cooked our own meals. This was the night that the meteor made an appearance and we had a front row seat. That was really awesome and what beautiful colors. We heard an owl hoot to its mate and a single coyote in the distance. Thank goodness the wind died to a screeching halt after the sun went down. It was a bit chilly late in the evening but my new sleeping bag paid off and I was happy and toasty warm. Although we had neighbors, everyone was quiet and kept to themselves. I was pleasantly surprised as we all expected the worst.
The morning brought lots of dew on the tents and steam rising from the water. As the sun crept up, the woods came alive with birds chirping and animals rustling about. We met at the fire, put on some more wood and picked up where we left off the night before. After breakfast we packed up and headed out at a slow pace, some of us fishing along the way. The river was bustling with wildlife as we encountered several pairs of ducks, Kingfishers and deer.
After we reached the take out at Fisherman’s Park and everyone got their boats loaded, we met at a local restaurant for brunch. With full tummies, new friends and ones we hadn’t seen in a while, we parted ways and vowed to make this an annual trip.
|The author, Terri Morgan