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San Marcos River paddle and campout

Let's celebrate the near-end of summer with a 2-day paddle and campout along the San Marcos River.  I have run this entire stretch over a dozen times and never tire of the beauty and challenges along the River.  Here is an annotated map:  http://goo.gl/maps/fxQn3.  (PLEASE VIEW)!  By this time of year the tubers will be virtually non-existent...

Day 1 - Sept. 15 at 8:30 AM  
We will paddle the upper stretch, launching from City Park in San Marcos - park in the lot near Lion's Club (http://goo.gl/maps/uwssk).  We will arrange shuttles to our pull-out point at River Ranch Retreat campground approx. 5.5 miles downstream.  This scenic stretch of river includes three portages, with the option for whitewater kayakers to shoot some punchy rapids. The portage at Cummings Dam involves lowering kayaks down a 20' ladder so please bring a 25' stretch of rope tied to your kayak.  We will stop for lunch along the river before our pull-out.  Shuttle arrangements back to cars and head to Shady Grove campground for overnight camping (http://www.spencercanoes.net/shadygrove).  Cost is $5.00 per person to camp out. Please check in at the office just inside the campground.  I have reserved site #12 with ample shade and room for tents and hammocks.  If people are so inclined, there is a vineyard near the pull-out (http://threedudeswinery.com) with wine tasting until 6PM.  Saturday nite is Bring Your Own Steak and BYOB/W/L.  Please also bring a side dish in the spirit of communal dining.  We will share stories and antics around the campfire.

Day 2 - Sept. 16 at 9:00 AM 
We will paddle the lower stretch, launching from River Retreat campground (yesterday's pull-out) and ending up at our campsite at Shady Grove approx. 6 miles downstream.  This stretch of the river includes more punchy rapids with the highlight being Cottonseed Rapids (Class II). We will have one portage at Martindale Dam.  Bring snacks or lunch on the river.  We should be returning around 1:00 PM to break camp and head back...

General Info:
The San Marcos River is spring-fed with a fairly constant, predictable flow rate, with spikes after rainfalls.  There is always ample flow to run the San Marcos River, even in drought years.  The first day is suitable for beginning kayakers and a nice introduction to running rivers, if you've been accustomed to paddling Lady Bird Lake and flat water.  Day 2 has more challenging whitewater stretches, so plan on getting at least a little wet.  Camp cost is $5.00 per person per night.  River access fees for pull-out at River Ranch Retreat campground is $2.00 per person.  Bring small bills for registration at pull-out and campground.  I will be setting up camp on Friday nite (Sept. 14th) and you are welcome to join me that night.  This is an adults-only trip, so leave the kids and pets behind.

Required Gear:
Personal Flotation Device (must be in kayak or worn), sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat or cap, mosquito repellent (if camping) and the usual camp gear - don't forget a folding chair!

More details will follow the week prior to the trip.  You can also reach me by cell phone at five one zero, three two five, eight zero three five.  Looking forward to a great time on the river!

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  • Frederick

    Had a fantastic time with a great bunch of people. The paddling was top-notch and the camping was a blast. No rain on Saturday or Saturday night. Started t sprinkle around mid=morning after we were on the river but the heavy stuff didn't start to come down until we got back into Austin. Looking forward to paddling with this bunch of paddlers again.

    September 16, 2012

  • Kelly

    Rain? What rain? It was a great camping and paddling weekend. Just sorry I didn't get there earlier for the Saturday paddle. Saturday night's camping was perfect, company was great and the weather was nice and cool for a change. Sunday's paddle was ushered with a gentle rain that accompanied us down the river all day. Was a nice change from the 100 degree days and toobers.

    September 16, 2012

  • Cindy

    Petsitter cancelled, sick son. Back up sitter has not responded. Out of town trip looking grim at this point.

    September 15, 2012

  • Jason R.

    I cannot make it sat. but will be there sunday.

    September 15, 2012

  • Cindy

    I also know of a group paddling here Sunday.
    Must be a popular weekend.
    Worked late tonight & bad weather means I won't make this evening.
    I plan to arrive at the park Sat during your paddle, camp over night if there is still room & join the Sunday paddle.

    September 14, 2012

  • Sharon S.

    I'm heading there now, y'all. Can't wait to see old friends and make new ones.

    September 14, 2012

  • Bryan S.

    Hey everyone -- we have a full group and this should be an excellent trip. I will be sending out an update tonight to everyone signed up so stay tuned for that. As it turns out the San Marcos Jr. Water Safari ( a kayak and canoe race) will be launching from our starting point on Day 1 just to add to the excitement. The Water Safari starts promptly at 9:00 AM, so they will be well ahead of before we put in. The parking lot at the put-in may be impacted though, so plan on arriving by 8:30 AM.

    September 13, 2012

    • Jason R.

      Going to be interesting indeed

      September 14, 2012

    • Bill S

      I can picture the mayhem guy ;-)

      September 14, 2012

  • Jason R.

    I will be out both days but will not be camping. Where are you guys going to meet at friday morning? TG or City Park? What time ?Thanks!

    September 14, 2012

  • Bill S

    Y'all might actually meet with another group of folks paddling this stretch tomorrow. The "Central Texas River Runner" puts in at City Park @ 9:30AM about an hour behind you guys.

    September 14, 2012

  • Paul

    Are there places nearby to rent kayaks/gear?

    September 6, 2012

    • Bryan S.

      Yes, I suggest Austin Canoe and Kayak too: Austin location (512)[masked] or San Marcos (512)[masked]

      September 7, 2012

    • Patricia

      TG Canoe and Kayak will rent to you for Day 1 the upper stretch, but not Day 2 the lower stretch. Here is their link. http://www.tgcanoe.co...­

      September 8, 2012

  • Frederick

    Yes, because we only going to limit the number of people paddling together, not the number of people camping out.

    August 28, 2012

  • Mike L.

    If we choose not to camp out, and only do the Saturday paddle do we still need to reserve a spot?

    August 28, 2012

  • Frederick

    For the second stretch, PFD's must be worn.

    August 27, 2012

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