Guadalupe River/Schwing Bayou
Length: about 12 miles
Duration: 6 hours
Continuing my quest to explore the backwaters of the Texas coast, I put in on the lower, lower, lower Guad at the Tx 35 crossing outside of Tivoli. The river here is wide and ugly-nothing like the Guad I'm used to in the Hill Country! The put-in is a boat ramp at the RV park, and would make a nice place to camp while exploring the area. The banks are low, many places only a foot or so above the water with lots of shrubs and vegetation.
After I launched, I was the only person around for the 6-hour paddle. It was kind of spooky being alone, but it was so relaxing and peaceful. I got out several times to see what the land looked like away from the banks- the land on river left is largely farmland-at least it has been cleared sometime in the past, while river right is wooded the whole way. I saw lots of turtles, birds of all kinds and a few snakes. A lot of loud splashing was heard the length of the river-probably large gar? I did see several fish camps on the banks, so it looks like good fishing.
The river splits into North Guadalupe and South Guadalupe before it enters Mission Lake. I had planned on taking the North branch to shorten the trip, but that way didn't look as promising as the South branch. After emptying into Mission Lake, I headed east around Kenyon and Kamey Islands searching for the entrance to Schwing's Bayou. The lake is a pretty lake-shallow with lots of trees around it. Again, not a soul in sight-don't know if any fishermen come back here or not, but there's lots of fish.
The trip has taken longer than I'd planned so I started pushing it to find the bayou entrance, which I found pretty soon and headed for the take-out. The bayou is very similar to the Guad except no current-trees, muddy water, lots of vegetation and birds. It narrows down some in places and there were a few spots where trees grow out into the water, but the paddle was easy. The take-out is not a pretty one since there's no road to get under the bridge-I had to hack my way through the weeds for about 25 yards. I hid my boat under the bridge since there was no evidence of anyone having been there before, and hoofed it back to the put-in, which is only about a mile away.
The overall trip is well worth the long paddle and the scenery is awesome-as is the peace and solitude. If I do it again, I'd take a meal and plan on a picnic somewhere-or even camp out and make it an overnighter. That would allow exploring Mission Lake.
Take Tx 35 east of Tivoli to the Guadalupe River bride. Just past the bridge is a sign for River Ranch RV Park. Launch here. The take out is about a mile east of the put in where Schwings Bayou crosses the road.
Put-in: River Ranch RV Park just south of Tx 35 east of Tivoli
Take-out: Tx 35 bridge over Schwing's Bayou