Paddling in North Texas

by Mel Lammers

I have now been in North Texas (Ft Worth) for 7 weeks and have been paddling 7 times. Not too bad considering I go home every other week (Dayton OH).

To sum up the paddling opportunities here: I have been to Marine Creek, a small approx. 800 acre lake near my apt. 3 times and the most memorable experience was finally getting to the west end of the lake to see the giant lilypads. They are about 18-24 inches in diameter and due to the lowering of the water by drought, they are standing about 12-18 inches above the water. They are doing this because there are so many of them that they hold each other up. Quite a sight, a lilypad forest covering a couple of acres. Marine Creek Lake is small and shallow enough that the waves get pretty big when the winds get to 15 knots like the first time I went. Not exciting, but WORK!

I have also been to Lake Worth, about 3000 acres also near the intersection of 35w and 820. The lake is not very populated with power boats although there is no restriction. Free launch under the 820 expressway. The area is full of water birds, ducks, some geese, great white herons, black herons, coots, and a few hawks overhead trying to figure out how to get a duck without swimming. The lake is next to Carswell Naval Station and joint use by some AF F-16s, C-130s and others. The Lockheed-Martin plant (AF Plant # xx is operated by L-M and owned by AF. Consequently I get to see lots of planes taking off and landing. As an AF Civil Servant (retired), I feel right at home. It is quite spectacular to be in your kayak and have an F-16 screaming right overhead. As a friend of mine here says "the sounds of freedom." The birds were much more disturbed by my K-Light 200 yards away than the lumbering C-130s overhead. The lake gets quite a bit of wind sometimes and you have 2-3 foot wind swells on the windward side along with 2 ft wind waves. A great workout when going upwind. It is possible to aerobically paddle a sea kayak, at least if you lean into it for a couple of miles. Maybe it is the combination of my size and weight and the small kayak. I will try it again with a K-1 in April.

There are quite a few more lakes here to explore but some of them very hard to get to the water. Eagle Mtn Lake is a nice lake but I could not find a place to launch without a $10 launch fee at a cement power boat ramp. I demured. Maybe I should have gone for it. Eagle Mtn is 9220 acres which is pretty large. It is not the largest lake though and I plan to visit a couple which look to be well over 10,000 acres. It takes a while to paddle around a 10,000 acre lake. It has taken me about 6 hours to cover half of Lake Worth. As near as I can measure, that is about 16 miles of shoreline so far. I figure that by the time I get around the other half, the first half will have changed enough to be interesting again.

Now you might ask, why is this person writing about North Texas when so many others write about exciting venues like Alaska, overseas places, etc. Well, I think sea kayaking can be interesting anywhere. I have seen more water birds here than in the bird sanctuaries in So Cal. Warmer water than the back bays of So Cal, cleaner water than anywhere I have been (who would have thought). And the remenants of a beaver lodge on Lake Worth. Went away after a couple of weeks. I have no idea where or why.

And none of this would have been possible (commercial switch on:) without a folding kayak. :-)

What places mundane have you been to?


Back to the PaddleWise home page.