The Brazos River Expedition of July 11, 1999
Page 2


About a quarter mile downstream from Oaks Crossing, the Brazos cuts its way through outcroppings of rock. Very scenic...

I had high hopes for the sandbars i wanted to explore here. They were numerous, interesting and in many places far wider than the river itself. Friends who have actually found quicksand have told me to look for it in the sandbars. If the number and quality of the sandbars were an indication of how much quicksand you could find, then the Brazos ought to be Quicksand Central!

Yours truly wades on out where the water is green and the fish are mean! There are very large gar with evil-looking teeth in the river, plus catfish and bass. However, the little minnows give the most hassle, ganging up and nibbling on our exposed flesh if we stayed still in the water for very long. Oh, it didn't hurt or draw blood or anything, it was just a little like being 'goosed' when you least expected it! Actually, more like a mass goosing, with itty-bitty goosers.

Wading down the river from Oaks Crossing, perhaps about three-eighths of a mile from where we started, a steep-banked, rather deep creek enters from the east. One of our party wanted to wade up this creek, but to do so we had to enter the river and ford across from the sandbar we had been exploring. Doing so, we found the deepest and swiftest part of the river during this trip, and I was in serious danger a couple of times of dunking the camera. The water got up to around 5 feet deep, and the current was fast enough that if you didn't take your steps slowly and carefully, you could easily lose your balance. Not very dangerous for an experienced swimmer, but I don't swim well with both hands full of camera gear! We managed to make it across the swift channel to the creek. Amazingly to me, even though we were just 10 feet up this creek from a fast part of the river, the water here was currentless and somewhat stagnant-smelling. The mud underneath the 3 to 4 feet of water was about a foot to a foot-and-a-half deep, and black as tar. I hung the camera bag from a nearby tree, and sort of slogged around in the muddy creek for a few minutes. I have to admit I was a little creeped out by this place, because in the back of my mind was the thought: snapping turtles! In the countryside of my boyhood up north, you had to be very wary wading around in creeks and ponds because snapping turtles were all over the place, and they didn't hesitate much to take a chunk out of your foot. At least, according to reputation. I have to admit that I've never seen a snapping turtle in Texas, but I was still leery of this murky, muddy water, and we went back out to the main channel of the river after less than 10 minutes.

In the picture on the left, the camera lens doesn't exaggerate by much how huge this sandbar really was! It was easily 4 times the width of the river itself. The content of the sandbars varied from the finest beach-like sand you can imagine, which could be very difficult and tiring to walk through; to small gravel; up to small and medium-size stones like you see in the foreground of the photo on the right. Same boulder in both photos, just looks a lot smaller in the pic on the left with a whole lot of me perched all over it!

Did we find any quicksand or deep mud this trip? Nope. Found some mud about a foot-and-a-half deep under water, but nothing to write home about. Did we care? Not really! We had such a great time splashing about in the river, exploring sandbars and taking pictures that our lack of 'success' at the end of the day was really not all that disappointing. Plus, I got a nice, minor sunburn to give myself a little color (neutralizing my normal shade of pasty grey)! And, to be realistic about it, I realized that we were unlikely to find what we were looking for the first time out. There is a whole lot more of this here river to explore, Pardner!


(On to the next expedition!)