The Brazos River Expedition of July 22, 2001

Actually, it turned out to be two water holes, side-by-side and separated by a stretch of sandy clay. Most mysterious. I tried to determine if the water was from a spring, or if this was simply a couple of small pools, the lonely survivors of the summer's heat and drought. Behind, the bank rose a good 15 feet, and from the reddish hue you could tell it was composed mostly of clay. The smaller pool had a soft bottom and was generally soft all around the edges, but I didn't sink in much deeper than about eight inches anywhere. It was thick clay, and quite sticky and a bit hard to extract your foot from.

Two lonely water holes in the bed of Patrick Creek, a good 1/8th mile upstream from where it appeared that the creek had purged itself of all moisture. The arrow points to the spot right at the base of the bank where I stumbled into the little clay hole shown in the pics below.

I explored. The deeper pool looked a bit forboding. I half expected to see snakes or snapping turtles, but none were in evidence. Skirting around the backside of both pools, against the foot of the tall clay bank, suddenly it got rubbery. For fun, I bounced up and down a couple of times, broke the surface tension and sank up to mid-calf in thick, sticky goo. The stuff was so tenacious that I couldn't easily extract myself, and set the camera bag to one side, fearing that I was going to lose my balance and sit down hard (something I'm very good at...refer to the August 9, 2000 Expedition). My companion happily grabbed the camera and started burning through film like the stuff was goin' out of style.

After rebuffing her entreaties to take off my shorts so more leg would be showing in the shots (hmmm...I think I look disappointing enough just with what you can see here), I finally hauled myself out of the sticky little surprise and waded into the deeper pool. At this point, I didn't care if a snapper took off both legs and stole my car keys...the air temperature was in the upper 90's, I was dehydrating rapidly after four hours in the sun, and I needed a breather and a cool-down.

Gettin' Gooshy With It. A small pit of thick, very viscous clay claims another victim...


Hey...WIPE YOUR FEET before you get back in the car!!! Fortunately, we had a long return trip back to Base Camp, through the river, so I came out (mostly) squeaky clean at day's end.

We pressed on, but knew we had to turn back soon. The heat was oppressive if you weren't knee to chest-deep in the river, and Patrick Creek didn't appear to be offering up any more watering holes.
Finally, we came to a slight uphill stretch, the sand of the creekbed giving way to solid rock . A small metal bridge came into view. We were a good 3/8ths mile from the Brazos now, and were smack-dab in the middle of somebody's ranch. Walking up the the bridge, I spotted a home a couple hundred yards away, and we determined it was time to head home before someone came along to shoo us away. It had been quite an interesting little adventure up Patrick Creek, and we had a good mile and a half return trip to make.


Map of this expedition

On to the next expedition