Trip Review:  Village Creek Paddling Trail

Who:
Troop 1409 & Crew 1409
2 Girls (14 & 15 years old)
5 Boys (12-17 years old)
2 Adults canoers
2 Adult shuttle drivers
What:
Car camping at Village Creek State Park
2 days of canoeing
Primitive camping along the Village Creek
Where:  Village Creek near Lumberton, Texas
When:  April 8-10, 2016
Itinerary:
Friday
Met at scout house at 5:30 pm to eat pizza and load equipment.
3 Cars
Left at 6 pm to drive to Village Creek State Park (drive is about 5 hours!)
Arrived at camp at 11 pm, set up camp, and in bed by midnight.
Saturday
Wake up at 6:30 am.
Check into state park (ranger station opens at 8 am).
Leave one car at state park, drive 2 cars and canoes to Put In #1 (see trail map) on FM 418.
Our shuttle drivers returned the canoe trailer to the state park.
Put into the water by 9:30 am.
Lunch near 5 Mile Sandbar.
Make camp between Yellow lake and Bass Camp (over 15 miles in!).
Sunday
Wake up at 6:30 am.
On the water by 8 am.
Finish at Village Creek State Park (Take Out #4) by 11 am.
Lunch in Lumberton (Dairy Queen) at 12:00.
On the road by 1 pm.
Arrive in Austin by 6 pm.

Comments:
This is a GREAT trip.  Though due to the long drive from Austin, it is better suited for a 3 day weekend.  You could either take shorter distances for the route we took to stretch it out for 3 days, or do a longer route (all the way to the Lakeview Sandbar).  The April weather was perfect.  I don't think I was cold, nor did I sweat.  Mosquitos were only a problem when you left the river and trounced into the brush to go to the bathroom.

Note, the maps provided on the Village Creek Paddling Trail website and at the state park are lousy.  Eastex Canoes has a great map on their website ("Trail Map" in links section below).  There is good cell phone coverage the entire route.  This was helpful when trying to decide where to make camp.  We could see from the satellite image on google maps where the good sand bars were.  

The first half of the trip is very twisty.  The water flowed well (flow:  0.4 kcfs / stage:  5 ft).  The twisty nature meant wind couldn't build up and wasn't a problem.  South of Baby Galvez some of the straighter sections had some wind.  

We camped at a GREAT sandbar between Yellow Lake and Bass Camp.  Most of us cowboy camped.  This was maybe not a great idea because of the morning dew.  Our sleeping bags got very wet.  I stayed dry inside the bag, but packing up was a challenge because the sand stuck to EVERYTHING.  It was the good, usual camping problems though.  

The bathrooms at the state park are great.  It's a bit annoying to have to pay full day use fees to store your car at the take out, but it's probably the safest option.  We brought our own (borrowed) canoes, but Eastex Canoes is a good option if you are renting canoes.    I don't know if you can take out from the State Park if you are renting from them, but Take Out #3 is close by.