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I Paddled the Trinity River Rapids and Lived To Tell This Story


You are hereby invited to read a story, if you haven’t already, that I wrote for the June issue. The online headline is the SEO’ed (I guess) “How I Survived the Trinity Rapids,” but the print version headline, which I prefer, is “Here Be Dragons.” In ye olden tymes, that’s what mapmakers would write when they didn’t know the lay of the land (or ocean). Those were parts unknown. Places to be feared.

That’s how I read Jim Schutze’s reporting on the Dallas Wave, the water park built on the Trinity, right near the Santa Fe Trestle. There were problems with the design of the wave (which the city is still trying to fix), and Schutze said that it might kill people. “There be dragons at the Dallas Wave!” So I loaded an inflatable kayak into the back of my car and headed down to the river. As I say, you’re invited to read about what happened. (Spoiler alert: the river killed me. I am a ghost now, writing this blog post from Angela Hunt’s attic.)

Okay, have you now read the story? Good. Here’s the GoPro video that I mentioned. Quick preview: it opens with Elizabeth Lavin, our staff photographer, giggling. This is because it took her many minutes and much fumbling to get the GoPro thing up and running, and she enjoyed my frustration. I apologize for my foul language during launch of the kayak. But the mud along those banks is like brown tapioca. Just gross. The other person you will see in the video, toward the end, after I am forced to bail out of my kayak and jump into the river because I’ve handed my paddle to Elizabeth and am being swept away — I don’t know who that guy is. Just a guy we met down at the river. Weird, right?