It is nearly dusk on the lower Guadalupe, one of those incomparable evenings when skies are clear, humidity is low and the only insects in sight are lightning bugs. The river is low and has been since the drought came along in ’05, and maybe that contributes to the blessed dearth of mosquitoes. But water flows deep enough for the handful of fly fishermen who have spread out along this stretch to get a hit every 20 minutes or so. They aren’t speaking—it’s not even clear if they’re together—and are too far away for me to hear the zzz-zzz-whoosh as they rhythmically cast their lines over and over. I can hear the burbling Guadalupe itself, but just barely.
In a matter of hours in July 2002, flooding rains unearthed eons of history beneath a swath of Hill Country landscape near New Braunfels. Nearly three feet of rainfall in one week pushed water over the emergency spillway of Canyon Lake for the first time since its 1964 creation, reaching a peak rate of roughly 67,000 cubic feet per second. By contrast, tubers on the Guadalupe River typically enjoy 350 cubic feet per second, and the Canyon Dam floodgates top out at 5,000 when wide open.
The reasons I love Texas are endless: the state's great outdoors, history, Tex-Mex, sunsets, swimming holes ... the list keeps going. And when I hear of a place where I can experience most of my favorites in a single day, I hit the road––this time to the Hill Country's scenic Canyon Lake.