Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kayaking the Zedler Mill Trail

In between trips to Taylor for BBQ and Memorial Day BBQ parties, my husband and I decided to escape the heat (and the brisket) and go kayaking on the San Marcos River. The Zedler Mill Paddling Trail starts west of Luling and ends six miles later at the Zedler Mill site in the city of Luling. The kayak rental guy promised that were no trees blocking the way.

Obviously, this tree didn't thwart our progress, but there were definitely more trees strewn across and in the river than we were expecting. We expected to see different forms of wildlife, but I really didn't expect to float around the curve in the river and find this kind of wildlife wading in:

I think the cows--and the bull--were not excited to see us, but they weren't mad. I think.

These guys, a little farther down the river, also looked more annoyed than angry.

We didn't really stop long enough to determine this critter's mood.

I also don't know for sure if it's a water mocassin, but as it could swim in the water faster than we could paddle, we didn't stop to check. Especially when he decided to come join us in the water.

The trail is part of the Texas Water Safari, the "world's toughest boat race"--a 260-mile canoe race along the Colorado river to the Gulf of Mexico. These women were serious canoers and blew past us, much like the three-man canoe team who had blown past us earlier.

You don't need to be a skilled canoer or kayaker to tackle the river, but it wasn't always as calm as these pictures show.

The TPWD website claims the rapids were only class I, but there were a couple of tricky maneuvers, one in particular where we both lost our shirts. Don't worry, I was wearing a bathing suit. Despite evidence to the contrary, this blog hasn't become THAT kind of blog.-) At least my camera was safely sealed in a ziploc bag and floated down the river without any harm. If you are considering kayaking this river, I recommend individual kayaks instead of double ones, or at least having a conversation on the need for one captain in the boat BEFORE you are facing the rapids.

At the end of the trip, we stopped to swim, while others took advantage of the rope swing.

The mill, the cotton gin, the mule house, and the other buildings are in quite a state of disrepair, but there are plans afoot to restore the whole area.

With or without the restoration, the paddling trail is a great way to wile away a few hours and to check out some interesting wildlife and plants along the way.


  1. Wow! That looks really fun! I am so going to add that to my list of things to do in Texas.

    Your photos are wonderful! I especially liked the one with the snake dangling out of the tree.

  2. Great travelogue. It looks like a peaceful and scenic trip, even with that big ole snake in the tree. Yikes!

  3. Snakes in the trees? Snakes in the trees! I don't think I'll be doing anything near the San Marcos River anytime soon.


    Aside from the swimming snakes, it looks like a nice jaunt.

  4. I love this kind of armchair traveling. I'm not sure I'd go jumping in the river after seeing that snake jump in.

    Love the miffed cattle photos.

  5. Thanks for posting this excellent trip report and the cool pictures! I have been hoping to make a road trip to Texas and check out this paddling trail.

    My wife and I have a couple 9.5 foot recreational kayaks that should be perfect for this river.

  6. Looks beautiful! Water sounds soooo good right now. That is definitely not a water moccasin. It looks kind of like a plain ol' rat snake. All snakes can swim! ;)