Think outside the box. How many times have we heard that admonition and given it ourselves? We paddle downstream don't we? Always? The downstream assumption was so ingrained in me, I failed to rethink it when I paddled Oso Creek on Thursday afternoon, December 27, 2001. The trip could have been enjoyable. As it was, it was memorable.
Oso Creek is located on the southern outskirts of Corpus Christi in Nueces County. The paddleable portion of it is tidewater. The water backs up from the Cayo del Oso, which itself is a shallow bay that lets out into Corpus Christi Bay.
I put in at Weber Road and took out at S. Staples. I estimate the distance at less than four miles, but it took me about three hours to make the trip. The water level was fine, although my paddle did sometimes dig into the mud. The problem was wind.
Wind blows up the creek from the bay, and my 17-foot Grumman makes an excellent sail. I was sometimes blown back up the creek. Other times I walked at the water's edge dragging the canoe. Sinking in muck up to my ankles enhanced the experience. At other times, I used my paddle like a pole, making headway by pushing against the lee bank. Without my double bladed paddle, I would not likely have made it. The trip would be pleasant if it were with the wind. As the creek is tidewater, there is no current, so there is no reason to paddle downstream. Next time I will paddle upstream and with the wind.
The bank consists of mesquite brush and salt flats. There are occasional views of an upscale subdivision along the lower half. I saw tracks of small critters, and the bird life is plentiful. Birders would find the trip quite interesting. Although not a birder, I identified roseate spoonbills, great blue herons, egrets, cormorants, and gulls. I think I caught a glimpse of a caracara. There were shore birds and numerous others I could not identify. On the lower half of the trip, a subdivision is intermittently visible to river left.
Access to the water's edge from the highway is fairly good. Once to the water's edge, however, be prepared for the muck. At the take out, I stepped out of the boat into ankle deep water and immediately sunk to my knees in anaerobic ooze. For those of you wondering how I knew it was anaerobic, you must never have smelled it. Did I mention the trip was memorable?
The Corpus Christi Botanical Center is just past the intersection with Oso Creek on Staples. It borders the last section of the creek to river right and offers a good opportunity to learn about native plants
The City of Corpus Christi has ample accommodations in all price ranges.
Staples is a major street in Corpus Christi. Just follow Staples out away from the center of the city until its intersection with Oso Creek.The City of Corpus Christi has ample accommodations in all price ranges.
A simple Corpus Christi street map, if it is new enough to go out that far, should be all you need.