Bill at Specht's Crossing on the Upper Guadalupe River, Texas
Bill at Specht's Crossing
April 28, 2001

Team McCord in the Come and Take It Race
Team McCord in the
Come and Take It Race, 1997
Having been born and raised in Dallas, rivers were not an important part of my life. The Trinity River did not lend itself to recreational activities because, well, it stinks! Who would want to paddle or swim in that river? But then, we only knew about the section running through Dallas, and more specifically the section separating downtown Dallas from Oak Cliff, where we lived. I now know that parts of the Trinity are enjoyable to paddle, though I still would not want to swim in it.

On my birthday, September 13, I paddled the 1997 Trinity River Challenge, an 11.8 mile marathon canoe race. Our team included my brother Marc and my son Will, who rode along as a passenger on his first ever downriver trip. Will's previous paddling experience was on Town Lake in Austin, where he had paddled with me and with his Boy Scout troop. He fell in love with rivers during the 2 hours and 20 minutes it took us to finish the race.

In October, 1997, the three of us paddled the "Come and Take It" 12-mile marathon on the Lower Guadalupe River at Gonzales. The race is part of the annual celebration of the battle that started the revolution for Texas independence from Mexico, and we finished third in the unlimited class in a 16-foot ABS whitewater canoe after our fourth place finish the prvious month on the Trinity. This time Will paddled instead of just going along for the ride, and he had decided against racing until we got that trophy. The look on his face was priceless! Since then, Will raced the 2000 "Come and Take It" with Marc while I waited at the finish line - I was recovering from cancer surgery and was unable to paddle or be exposed to the sun. Of course, the sun was not an issue, as it was rainy, cool and overcast the entire day. But, I will be there this year to paddle that race with Will and Marc and am looking for a repeat of our previous success (knock on wood!) Last year Will and Marc finished first in the ABS whitewater class, and that is going to be difficult to repeat, but we will give it a try.

My first river trip since my surgery was April 28-29, 2001, on the Upper Guad, where Marc and I paddled five miles on Saturday and another ten miles on Sunday. If good fortune, my recovery and the water in the rivers hold out, then I will paddle a few more times this year including both the Trinity River Challenge and the "Come and Take It" race.

Unless you are a paddler you might not understand or fully appreciate my love of paddling a canoe down a river. Come and join us sometime and see what you have been missing. You might just find a new love in life, as we did.

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Last updated February 12, 2009