Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Good Ships of Jesse H. Jones

A thing of beauty.

Multiple times throughout the year Jesse H. Jones Park puts on free canoe trips down Spring and Cypress Creeks. Registration opens up ten days in advance and due to the extremely fun nature (ha ha, couldn't resist) of these trips they fill up almost instantaneously. If you haven't called them by 9am on the first day of registration you'll probably just have to stand on shore sadly watching fourteen canoes of happy, laughing people pass you by.

This is what you see and you'll be sad you didn't call in time.

Thankfully due to the advice of my friend, John (Starmhz1), I was able to call in in time to make the list. So, Saturday evening I found myself among a group of fellow adventures getting ready for an easy, two-hour paddle down Spring Creek. The park supplied the canoes, paddles, life vests (mandatory to be worn by anyone 16 and under, otherwise they just need to be in the boat), and a ride back to J.H.J.P. from the takeout at Edgewater Park & Boat Launch. They even brought bottles of ice cold water for people who didn't!

Getting the mandatory safety talk which is pretty much just, "If you somehow manage to flip your canoe on the mirror-like surface of Spring Creek, just stand up. The water is only about three feet deep in most places!"

The mirror-like surface of Spring Creek.

Sidenote: Children under 16 were not allowed on this trip, but the Park does have other trips which they can join after first attending one of the park's Junior Canoe Training Workshops.

Paddlers ranging from experts to complete novices.

We launched from J.H.J.P.'s canoe landing at 5:25pm. The sun was still high in the sky and very hot, but a steady breeze and the occasional large cloud gave us welcome breaks from the heat. The water itself had a very cooling effect too, so that people were able to really enjoy the trip.

Starmhz1 enjoying the trip!

Everyone else also enjoying the trip.

The current on Spring Creek was non-existent. In fact if you stopped paddling the breeze was enough to push you slowly backwards upstream. A few of the new paddlers were surprised to learn they had to put effort into going downstream.

At the last bend before hwy. 59 there's a nice sandbar. No one was ready to end the adventure so we all pulled out there and relaxed, snacked, and chatted for a while.

The sandbar, a place of beauty.

The Paddlin' Pros.

Back on the river as evening begins to fall.

Past hwy. 59, coming ashore at Edgewater Park.

Hey everybody, smile!

It was only a two-hour trip but there was much goodness packed into those two hours. There's something very invigorating about being surrounded by a bunch of happy people in the borderlands. It think every one of us would have just kept paddling given the chance. The chatting and laughing continued as we all worked together loading the canoes onto the trailers without being asked. Then, still bonded, we all squeezed into the park vans for the ride back to J.H.J.P.

Alas, like all good things it had to come to an end. The park guides took the canoes to be hosed off, we all drifted to our separate vehicles, shouts of "That was great!" and "See you again!" were tossed between people who were strangers just a few hours earlier. Will we see each other again? I like to think we will. It's a big world though with lots of adventures waiting to happen. Paths cross, some join for a long time, others for little more than a few steps...

Some of you have been adventuring with me now for five years. How much farther will our paths overlap? I guess we'll just have to walk and see, friends. Just keep walking with me and we'll see.

Adventure! Excitement! The Great Trail of Life!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Color me green with envy. I haven't been paddling in a while. Ready to hit the water. But free & I don't have to lug my own boat? Can't be beat. I'll be watching for thos trips on the Jesse Jones web site!

Thought about your wild edibles class: last weekend we were on a hike at Houston Arboretum and there was a mound of greenbriar tubers. :)