San Marcos River Midweek
August 8, 2018
by Natalie Wiest
I don’t often get to paddle with someone named Natalie, and when Natalie Hansen (HASK member) asked me to make a trip to the San Marcos River before she returned to teaching school, well, who could resist? So I scheduled the trip for on-water time on Wednesday August 8, but kicking off with overnight camping on the 7th at San Marcos River Retreat (Tom Goynes’ camp, formerly known as Pecan Grove) in Martindale. Five of us came from Houston, and Natalie H from Palacios. Bummer for us Houston folk on the 7th – horrid delays on I-10, and we were all hours late in arriving.
Camping was as delightful – and quiet – as ever, and we had a nice Mexican dinner in San Marcos, except for Dan Roy who was running even later than the rest of us. And, bummer for Dan, he didn’t realize the rocky nature of San Marcos, had brought his beautiful wood stripper handbuilt kayak, and elected not to paddle with the group but only up and back from SMRR the next morning.
After all the talk of the San Marcos being choked with tubers, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we had the river to ourselves. New moving-water paddler Derrick George did a great job in his fishing sit-on-top.
Joe Coker, Natalie H and I paddled sit-in boats. The river was running about 140 cfs at the gauge in San Marcos, plenty adequate for us.
Jackie Webster, longtime club member but off the water for a long time, enjoyed her trip in sit-on-top also.
Natalie H running the “concrete wall” rapid.
It has been several years since I’d last paddled the San Marcos. Major flooding events in the interim really changed up some of the rapids, notably Cotton Seed, which was much less technical than before. Don’t know the name of the rapid where there is a solid concrete wall on the right side, and typically a long sloping gravel bar, but it seemed a lot more testy than I’d remembered – and the gravel bar was gone, only bare rocks left. The new bridge and improvements at Scull’s Crossing made that a bit less daring than before.
You can see in the photo of the takeout location for Texas State Tubers, that there is huge potential for innertubes on the river but thankfully they stayed on the bank. We heard some tubers going past SMRR as we had run our shuttle and were eating our lunches at the picnic table, but no problems for our paddle.
It was a delightful day on the water, wish you could have joined us too.
- Natalie Wiest
The author, Natalie Wiest