Friday, July 27, 2012

Your Weekend: Exploring the Brazos River

No summer is complete without an outdoor adventure.  Why not make a new summer memory, and explore a Texas river that is unlike any other? The Brazos River is both Texas's longest river and it has the largest flow of any other river in the state. Whether you want to canoe, fish, swim, camp, kayak, boat, or tube, the possibilities are endless along the Brazos River. Take a break from your routine and experience the beauty and mystery of being outdoors.

The Brazos River of Texas begins in eastern New Mexico and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The river is lengthy, and no two places along it are the same. The river’s flow is constantly changing, along with its variation in ecology and wildlife. Some of the wildlife you can find include snakes, ducks, snails, beavers, alligator gar, turtles, and many different species of fish. But don’t worry; most of these animals are afraid of humans and only attack when cornered!

Exploring the Brazos River: From Beginning to End (Texas A&M University Press, 2011) by Jim Kimmel is your ultimate guide to having the best summer adventure yet. Filled with beautiful photographs, maps, landmarks, and descriptions of both the river’s ecology and flow, it is perfect for any outdoor enthusiast. Kimmel also provides the inside scoop on specific places to explore the river and land surrounding it.

Author Jim Kimmel and Photographer Jerry Touchstone Kimmel have provided us with a summary of their book and why they wrote it:
“Can’t afford to explore the Amazon River? Then explore the Brazos. It is a wild place with ‘gators, gars, snakes, and even some pretty wild natives. The 400 miles from Waco to the mouth of the river near Freeport is one of the longest undammed lengths of river in the U.S. The river’s history is long and fascinating. Clovis people lived on its banks at least 12,000 years ago, and the Brazos was the main transportation artery for the Anglo settlement of Texas as steamboats struggled against floods or crawled over sandbars. Four tributaries flowing from just below the Caprock Escarpment east of Lubbock form the modern Brazos, but its drainage extends into eastern New Mexico. The upper tributaries are bright red and one is saltier than sea water.
We wrote this book to inspire you to explore the Brazos to learn what it does and how it works. We list all of the places of public access to the Brazos and provide easy-to-understand information about climate, geology, ecology, and people. We hope this book turns you into a river explorer who learns the importance of rivers and wants to protect them.”

Location: Dinosaur Valley State Park, P.O. Box 396, Glen Rose, Texas 76043

Getting There: From College Station take TX-6 North towards Waco for about 80 miles. When you are in Waco you will continue onto TX-6 N/Texas Loop 340 for another 50 miles. Turn left onto TX-144N/Main St in Meridian, and continue for another 24 miles. Turn left onto SW Barnard St, take 3rd left onto SW Big Bend Trail, and then turn right onto Farm to Market Rd 205. Turn right after 3 miles onto Park Rd 59.

About Dinosaur Valley State Park: Located on Paluxy River, a tributary of the Brazos River, this state park gets its name from the double set of dinosaur tracks once embedded in the river’s bed. Although these tracks were removed to be put on display in museums, there are still similar tracks found throughout the park.

What You'll See: Besides ancient dinosaur track sightings, the state park is a great place for both learning and relaxation. The river is clear and the land surrounding is abundant in vegetation. The park also has great trails for walking and sightseeing.

Kimmel Recommends: Learning more about the river and its flows. “Dinosaur Valley State Park . . . is a wonderful place to learn about the river and the land. . . A trail along the river has a set of signs that explains the fluvial processes of this flashy river.”

Order Exploring the Brazos River: From Beginning to End on our website for more author tips, river facts, and places to visit!

TELL TAMU PRESS: Have you ever explored the Brazos River? What was your favorite experience/memory?
--Madeline Loving