SHALLOW WATER AND HIGH WIND
by: Eddie Trapp
A few months ago three of us floated Red River from Arthur City and motored up the Kiamichi River all the way to the spillway at Hugo Lake. I kept thinking the river would rise and I could go again, maybe all the way to Highway 37 north of Clarksville. Thursday, October 18, I could wait no longer. The weather was predicted to be nice both day and night with winds only five to ten miles per hour. Realizing the water would be shallow I left my heavy sixteen foot boat at home and carried “Skint Back”, my twelve footer with a two horsepower Mercury. Zack hopped in beside me and was glad he didn’t have to stay home.
Being retired I was free but could not find anyone else able to go. By the time all the gear was loaded and several stops made, I finally drove my old pickup toward the primitive and very steep ramp at Arthur City at 2:15. A quarter mile before the ramp a Mr. Cleveland was out in his yard and I got permission to leave my pickup there after unloading the boat. On to the ramp, launched, drove back to Mr. Cleveland’s, then walked back to the river. At 2:30 a mature pair of bald eagles flew from tall trees on the Texas side and sailed on downriver. From the bridge the river runs mainly east and I had to run the motor on idle to keep the wind, much higher than the promised ten miles per hour, from blowing the boat against the south bank. Zack stood on the bow of the boat and watched for critters along the shore. By 2:43 the river had slightly curved and Highway 271 Bridge was out of sight. At 2:52, I was passing a big sandbar on the Texas side when a coyote with white on its legs appeared out of thick weeds to see what the motor noise was. I’d never seen one like it. All four legs had some white and there was white on the chest. As I got closer the coyote moved back out of sight.
At 3:10 I hit very shallow water and the boat was hanging on the bottom. I had to strip to my Michael Jordan’s and step out into the cold water to drag the boat a while. At 3:27, I passed the mouth of an Oklahoma creek where there were some huge black rocks. I remember seeing a coyote there years ago. 3:35, lots of pecan trees on the Oklahoma side. At 4:07 I reached the south end of a long run and the river turned east. A tree lined creek came in from the Texas side. Pine Creek? Huge sandbar on Oklahoma side. Suddenly very loud and close, gunfire rang out from the trees on the Texas side. High powered rifles. For the next hour as I got further away I heard 17, 462 shots, many from fully automatic rifles. At the cost of ammunition these days I don’t know how anyone could afford that much practice. Maybe it is a gun range where area peace officers take regular practice. If it was just an individual he must be a millionaire.
4:35, woods stop on Texas side and lots of old concrete culverts in river, apparently to stop the Texas bank from washing away. River curving to northeast and GPS shows speed at 1.5 miles per hour while not using motor. 5:05, I notice my first ever tumbleweeds along Red River. Maybe they have been there in years before when I floated in the spring and summer and I just didn’t notice but now in October many have broken loose and rolled into the water. 5:10, creek coming in from Oklahoma side. A very narrow spot along Red River, probably the narrowest I know of. A Texas sandbar runs within thirty yards of the steep bank on the Oklahoma side. At 5:30 my GPS showed FM 906 out to the south. With the motor idling along, we are traveling four miles an hour. At 6:30 the sun was getting low and I was watching the banks for a place to set up my tent. Suddenly a man appeared on top of the Oklahoma bank. After asking permission to climb the bank I tied my boat and went up to visit with a very nice Mr. Ted Morse who was building a fence to keep his cows from crossing the river. While talking with him I heard a four wheeler coming and it was his daughter and grandson. Needing to move on, I told them goodbye and went on downriver looking for a nice, Galveston beach type sandbar. At 7:00 I found one and anchored my boat. Many times there are no trees to tie to so you need to carry a small metal rod to drive deep into sand and secure your boat. My GPS showed the spot to be 33 52.082 and 95 21.990. While setting up the tent several Canadian geese flew over. Many of these do not go north for the summer apparently as I have seen them along Red River many times during all seasons. To be continued.
Technology has gotten so out of hand that when you get a new phone, like I did a few days ago, they don’t even give you an instruction book. When I need help with it, which is pretty regular, I have to ask a grandkid for help.
A man called the weight loss hotline. A recording instructed, “If you would like to lose a half pound right now, press 1, eighteen thousand times.
A man was telling his friend, “My father is allergic to cotton. He has pills to take for it but he can’t get them out of the bottle.”