Past Meetup

Intermediate Kayaking, Blanco River, Mon 5/27

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Trip is limited to 12 paddlers. Low intermediate and up ability. NO BEGINNERS THIS TRIP.

Perfect Blanco Kayaking Time, Monday 9:30am at Planet Fitness Parking Lot, Y@Oak Hill. We’ll carpool or drive from there figuring leaving most cars at 7A Resort take-out ($5/car parked, River Mile 34.6) and reloaded trucks/everyone shuttling up to Valley View Road Put-in (River Mile 19). Figure getting back to Y@Oak Hill around 5pm. Bring lunch/drinks on river. About 16 river miles. Low intermediate and up ability. NO BEGINNERS THIS TRIP. 4-5 hours paddling with good current & rapids.
I’ve run 5 times the Blanco from Burnett Ranch Road (the Valley View Crossing) to Fisher Store Road, at[masked]cfs. A lot of fun. Lots of curves and rapids.
Current gauge fell to 600cfs and climbed to 1000cfs at 6am today. Falling slowly past 389cfs at 2pm Sunday.

I asked other kayakers at Fisher Store take out and they were just doing Fisher Store road to 7A Resort by bridge, paying $5/car for parking/takeout, in Wimberley. They said that was a good stretch to do. I’d like to leave around mid-morning to do BLANCO Monday. Dangerous Narrows is upstream from where we will put in.

Google "Southwest Paddlers" for Blanco River
FM 165 to Five Mile Dam ~ 60 Miles.
The Blanco River headwaters are springs in northwestern Kendall County, near the Gillespie County line. Flowing east southeast for about 87 miles, the Blanco River passes through Kendall, Blanco and Hays Counties to its mouth at the confluence of the San Marcos River just southeast of the Town of San Marcos. The name of the river derives from members of the Aguayo Spanish Expedition in 1721, after they encountered the white limestone in the streambed and along the riverbanks - Rio BLanco (White River).
Topography features stair-stepped limestone ledges and shelves covered with Grasses, Juniper, Oak, Mesquite and Cedar trees, as well as Bald Cypress, Oak, Elm, Cedar and Conifers in and near the streambed. Most of the adjoining property is privately owned ranch land, though some significant residential development has occurred in and around Wimberley. The river is beautiful, and even in areas with a higher density of housing there is not the feeling of being crowded on the river. Please respect private property, and never trespass on private property except in cases of an emergency. Always obtain landowner permission before accessing private property. There are several spots where the Blanco River runs underground, leaving only a dry streambed cluttered with boulders, rocks, trees, shrubs and grasses on the surface. This feature limits the navigable length of the river unless you are into carrying boats and gear for moderate to long distances across less than hospitable terrain. During flood stage conditions this "feature" is eliminated, leaving only well-rooted trees and boulders to create problems when paddling in fast currents. Most of those spots are several miles west of Wimberley The most frequently paddled section of the Blanco River is between Fischer Store Road and FM 12 in Wimberley. Public parking is VERY limited at all access points. DO NOT illegally park your car, or it will be protected from vandals in the local police auto pound - at great cost to you!
It should be noted that the Blanco River is not frequently navigable. It flows best at or near flood stage, and quickly dissipates back to its placid self. Right after a good rainstorm is the best time to catch the
Technical Data
Class Rating I to VI Length 60 miles Minimum Flow 125 cfs Optimum Flow 250 - 700 cfs Maximum Flow 1,300 cfs First Put-in FM 165 at Blanco Lat/Long[masked] / [masked] Last Take-out Five Mile Dam at San Marcos Lat/Long[masked] / [masked] Elevation msl Gradient fpm USGS Gauge Web:[masked] (Wimberley) Boats Canoes, Kayaks Season Spring through mid-Summer Permits No
5/26/13 Blanco River, Texas 2/4
placid self. Right after a good rainstorm is the best time to catch the Blanco, and for that reason great care should be taken when canoeing or kayaking the Blanco. Several low water bridges, rock gardens, boulders in midstream, and other potential hazards await the inexperienced and/or ill-prepared paddler. Occasionally, there are whitewater rapids and surfing holes created by General Motors, Ford or Chrysler resulting from careless drivers thinking their big, high-clearance SUVs were capable of driving across washed out low water bridges.
Southwestern Hays County, close to FM 32, FM 306, FM 12, and the Town of Wimberley in the Texas Hill Country southwest of Austin.
Austin 25 miles; San Antonio 50 miles; Dallas 250 miles; Houston 250 miles; Oklahoma City 455 miles; Little Rock 575 miles; Kansas City 755 miles; (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination put-in point on the river and route taken.)
The water quality in the Blanco River is generally considered very good, though the river is usually far too low to paddle. The Blanco River usually has an adequate flow for paddle trips during and shortly after a flood, then the flow quickly returns to minimal after runoff water has been drained into the river. Flow levels are subject to extreme fluctuations that can occur on a moment's notice, especially if rains fall anywhere within the drainage basin for the river, so beware of the potential for flash flooding.
Right after a good local rainfall. The Blanco River is very dependent upon recent local rainfall to provide adequate current for boating. Expect hot temperatures from June through September, if there is adequate water to paddle. This IS Texas, ya'll!
The biggest hazard on the Blanco is the Class IV-V area known as "The Narrows". This is a very technical section with big drops and a tight, twisting, narrow channel that is difficult to negotiate. It should be avoided by all except expert boaters, and even then extreme caution should be exercised. There are several low-water bridges with moderate hydraulics on the downriver side between Fischer Store Road and FM 12. These can easily swamp and/or capsize an open canoe or kayak. Caution should be exercised at all low water crossings, including carefully scouting the best way to negotiate those obstacles. The rapids are mostly boulder gardens with clear channels and moderate excitement at higher flows (800 - 1,200 cfs). Summer temperatures should be considered a hazard if proper precautions are not taken. Always have protective clothing, sunscreen and plenty of non-alcoholic liquids to prevent dehydration.
FM 165 one mile east of Blanco at 0.0 miles; Cox Road (county) crossing at 5.3 miles; Chimney Valley Road crossing at 6.8 miles; Pleasant Valley Road crossing at 25.1 miles; Cloptin's Crossing at 34.6 miles; Pioneer Town crossing at 35.3 miles; FM 12 crossing at 37.0 miles; County road crossing just downstream from FM 12 at 37.1
Blanco River map courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
5/26/13 Blanco River, Texas 3/4
37.0 miles; County road crossing just downstream from FM 12 at 37.1 miles; County road crossing 2 miles east of Wimberly at 39.1 miles; County road crossing 3 miles east of Wimberly at 42.1 miles; County road crossing 4 miles east of Wimberly at 46.1 miles; County road crossing off IH 35, 4 miles northeast of San Marcos at 57.1 miles; IH 35 crossing 2 miles northeast of San Marcos at 60.0 miles.
Camping along the Blanco is not an option for the stretch between Fischer Store Road and FM 12 in Wimberley. Residents along the Blanco River have, from time to time, been inhospitable toward river runners, though that seems to be changing as younger people, many who are paddlers themselves, move into the area. However, trespassing should be strictly avoided except in emergency situations.
None on the Blanco River. Arrange private or self-shuttles and leave cars in clearly legal parking areas ONLY! See the admonition in the "Campgrounds and Accommodations" section above.
I had the opportunity to paddle the Blanco for the first time ever after the June-July floods this year, and ended up doing it twice within a few days. The first run was with Wendall Lyons and Roger Kraft of Bigfoot Canoes on July 12, at about 1,100 cfs. We put in on private property (with permission) off Haschke Road, just below the Fisher Store Road bridge, and paddled down to another private property take-out (also with advance permission) just below FM 12 in Wimberley. The flow was great and the rock gardens were a blast! Haystacks of 2-3 feet were prominent, and hitting them in an open canoe at that flow was an E-ticket ride! The rapids were solid Class II's, but I saw nothing that would realistically be called Class III. Anything that was questionable for a run was easily portaged. Oddly enough, it was low water bridges that caused most of our unplanned swims, especially when the drop is shallow, but the water below is even shallower, and the boat hangs up in the hydraulic. I hit the crossing at Slime Bridge at high speed after having carefully surveyed the crossing and determining the best point with the most water and the best chance for clearing the drop with the hole up. My bow took the plunge, hit the river bottom, and stopped everything except me. I was down on kneeling pads, so my center of gravity was already low, but water from the hydraulic immediately came over both gunwales and swamped the boat, forcing me to get out, grab the painter and drag a swamped canoe against a strong current to the side where I could empty out the water and continue downriver. The rest of the trip was a piece of cake, and I was unhappy to see the take-out.
8 days later I had the opportunity to return to the Blanco with Tony Smith and Mark (last name unknown), to run the river at a little over 800 cfs. It is unusual for the Blanco to have water in it at all, much less for two or more weeks, and at high flow rates. Two weeks of heavy rains will do that! We put in immediately below Fischer Store Road bridge and paddled down to Slime Bridge, where we took out. The rapids were great Class II stuff and the only downer was the short length of the trip. If it would rain more often around the Blanco, then it would be one of my truly favorite rivers to paddle. It is tighter than the Upper Guad, not as developed as the Lower Guad, and a technical level somewhere in-between. I am ready to go again!
Big rock just below the Fischer Store Road access
Strong eddy currents in the Blanco River at 1,100 cfs
Looking down the beautiful Blanco River in July, 2002
Marc McCord paddling the Blanco at 1,100 cfs in July,[masked]/26/13 Blanco River, Texas 4/4
Steve Daniel going over the 3rd drop of the Blanco Narrows Photo by Jimmy Vick
Blanco Narrows runout below the falls Photo by Steve Daniel
Downed Cypress trees and huge boulders make the Blanco River an interesting place to paddle a canoe or kayak
Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Guadalupe River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.
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