Dallas Downriver Club

Austin Bat Paddle / San Marcos River

Date: August 13 - 15, 2021 Sponsor: DDRC
River: Friday- Lady Bird Lake  Saturday- San Marcos River Trip Leader: Bryan Jackson
Reach: Friday - IH 35 bridge to Commerce St. Bridge and Back. Saturday TBD. Phone: 972-979-2519
Difficulty: Class I - II E-mail: FCO@down-river.com
Rendezvous: Friday 6pm at IH 35 bridge over Lady Bird Lake Required Skills: Moving water/Whitewater experience, proper protective gear, base camping
Campground: Shady Grove Campground in Martindale, TX  

Trip Description:

Friday evening, we meet at the I 35 bridge over Lady Bird Lake and paddle up to the Commerce St bridge to see the millions and millions of bats emerge from their nests beneath the bridge and head out for their dinner. Sometimes this can be spectacular, sometimes not so much.  The real show is how may people show up and all the different modes of transport the arrive in. Plus its a great paddle on a beautiful stretch of lake. Make sure you bring your Moonlight Float running light as it will be dark when we go back to the put in.

Friday and Saturday night we camp at Shady Grove Campground in Martindale, TX . I will make arrangements for a group tent site, but if you plan to bring a camper, I would make campsite reservations on your own.

Saturday, we will paddle the San Marcos. We will decide closer in when we have a idea of the water levels. 

Saturday evening, bring your cholesterol meds as "Open Fryer Night" will rear its head again. This time lets do it a bit differently, by using smaller pots on more stoves so we can cook more stuff faster, but the rules are the same. Bring anything you can fry in pieces that should cook in 5 minutes or less and something that you can put it on once its done (thats usually an issue, so bring a small cardboard box lined with paper towels). 


Easiest from Dallas is to take I-35 south and get off in Austin at the last exit before the lake. follow the service road and you will see the boat launch and parking area.

To Shady Grove Camp. Take 35 south to Exit 205, TX 80 Turn left and follow to FM 1979 and turn right. Campground is on the left after you cross the river.

Alternate: Follow I-325 south to TX 130 (toll road). Exit at TX 80 and turn right. Follow TX 80 to FM 1979 an. turn LEFT. Campground is on the left after you cross the river.




* International Scale of River Difficulty

Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight, self-rescue is easy.

Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed.

Class III: Intermediate. Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims.

Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require "must" moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting is necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong eskimo roll is highly recommended.

Class V: Expert. Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to above average endangerment. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential for survival.

Class VI: Extreme. One grade more difficult than Class V. These runs often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. This class does not represent drops thought to be unrunnable, but may include rapids which are only occasionally run

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Last updated May 1 2021