This is a “catch-up” post from April 2020, when COVID was just starting to get real. The legacy of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 remained strong.
We’d bought our bright-green ten-foot “Lifetime Manta” kayak for less than $300 in 2012 to have some fun with the kids. It had been hanging from the ceiling of our garage for too long, so it was great to get her wet again. It is built for stability rather than speed, and I affectionately call her an unsinkable bathtub! But it floats well down the Buffalo Bayou, with the additional stability requiring more paddling effort.
The goal was to paddle to Allen’s Landing downtown (number 10 on the map). The idea of paddling under the big interstates and in the middle of such a big city was attractive, but where to start? The water access location at the Hogg Bird Sanctuary (number 7 on the map) did not appear viable. While locations 8 and 9 looked viable, the trip seemed too short and unadventurous. This left me with starting at location 6, the Woodway Memorial Park, conveniently close to our house. The picture above was taken there. I was confident I would be able to socially distance myself in the middle of the river!
There is a car park just Southeast of the bridge on Woodway over the Bayou, and Janet kindly shuttled. There is a paved path that leads from the car park to the access point, turning to dirt close to the water. There is a stabilized wall by the water, but the drop can be large depending on the water level. I entered via the mud bank which was straight forward.
The adventure began. The first section is a beautifully peaceful float down to the Interstate 610 bridge. The sun was still low, so it was cool and the water still. Remnants of flooding destruction remain. The peacefulness emphasizes my distance from anyone else!
The next section from Interstate 610 to Shepherd took me through Memorial Park and River Oaks. There wasn’t much direct evidence of Harvey, but I know the floodwaters had piled up significant amounts of silt on either side of the river, and this had either been cleared or overgrown. For any house you see from the river, you ask yourself, “I wonder how badly they were flooded,” knowing they did not avoid damage. On this section, there was often no sign of human life for some distance, with the peace broken a couple of times by the sound of lawn equipment.
Between the end of Memorial Park and the Shepherd bridge, there was an interesting mix of architecture and wildlife.
The next section follows Allen Parkway to the edge of downtown, under several bridges including the Waugh bridge with her bat colony. No shade in this section so I was happy to have my hat and enjoyed more wildlife, as well as finding a perfect spot for my lunch break.
Floating into downtown Houston was the highlight of the trip. Even though the traffic roars overhead, it was cool and tranquil on the river. Evidence of Harvey remained, reminding me that everything that I could see had been underwater. Yet my trip fittingly ended where Houston began.
I measured it as 8.3 miles taking about 4.5 hours of paddling/floating.
I am originally from England, and my wife Janet is from Louisiana. When we started Geocaching in 2002, we needed a name, and the Cajunlimeys were created, and that is the name I use for my blog. Even though Janet has no Cajun blood, her cooking is excellent! “Limeys” comes from the nickname for English sailors, who ate limes to prevent scurvy. We live in Houston, Texas, with Bailey and Samuel.
We love adventures and want to share the experiences with others. When planning trips, I have found other people’s sites very useful, so I want to give back and add a different perspective.
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