The first of our occasional micro-adventure series takes you 5 miles through shaggy cypress canopy, on a shallow mosquito ferned clearwater paddle to an iconic swimming hole hidden in the Texas Hill Country.
Paddling in your own backyard is often overlooked when planning a kayakpacking adventure and in a lot of ways these micro-adventures (<12 hours) strike the same notes as their longer and more complicated cousins. They can also take you to locations that you might have taken for granted, serve as a testing ground for a new piece of gear that you have recently added to your kit, or allow you to gain experience on a new type of water.
The put in for this micro-adventure on Cypress Creek is on Jacob's Well Road just north of Wimberly, Texas and sets you on a short .5 mile upstream first leg to the perennial karst spring swimming hole of Jacob's Well. Its a beautiful, albeit short, paddle with a single portage, and an extract and drag – but in our opinion the only way to truly appreciate the limestone geology of the surrounding area.
If you care to go for a dip in the year round 68 degree waters of Jacob's Well you'll need reservations - and good timing. The first leg took us 25 easy minutes once we put in but it could be done in a shorter time if you want to sprint. That being said even a half mile paddle in the heat of the south central Texas summer is enough to yearn for a swim in the cool spring.
Adventures come in all shapes and sizes and can be planned for a variety of reasons - not that you need excuse to get out and paddle.
The kayakpacking.co Micro Adventures Series focuses on sub 12 hour treks that don't require any overnight considerations. Have a well documented micro adventure that you'd like to contribute to the series? We'd love to hear from you!
The second leg will have you back-track to the put in and continue another 4 miles downstream traversing along shallow banked forested areas of pine, oak and namesake cypress that'll test your portaging skills and perhaps your patience. With 13 portages in all across dams and roads we'd advise a short and sub 50lb craft if possible. Think a Dagger Zydeco 9.0, or a Wilderness Systems Aspire 100/105 - and a skid plate wouldn't hurt either.
GATEWOOD BROWN calls
Houston home and explores all over Texas and the surrounding states. He
enjoys everything that has to do with outdoors and excels most in
remote places. When he's not filming/editing adventure films he works in downtown Houston and is a brother, son and friend.
He is the host of Gatewood Brown, a quickly growing adventure channel on YouTube.