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Park Pick: Paddling Sea Rim

Relax or catch your supper on one of the state park's paddling trails.

By Walt Bailey

I plunge my feet into the water, grab hold of both sides of my kayak and lower myself in. Life jacket adjustment? Check. Waterproof bag? Check. Water bottle? Check.

The marshes here at Sea Rim State Park can be a real maze without this important final item: a map. Fortunately, there’s an accurate, detailed map of the area printed by the Texas state park system and distributed free of charge to park visitors. Before getting into the boat, I review another version of the same map printed on colorful sign panels posted throughout the park.

Soon after pushing off, I see that the park left nothing to chance. It installed markers all along the way for each of the three paddling trails I travel. The markers match the paths shown on the map; even if I lose the map while paddling, I’ll be able to find my way back.

Reassured, I continue on my journey.

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As the boat glides through the water, I see roseate spoonbills, egrets and herons. I’m told that duck hunters also ply these waters frequently in search of their quarry. An alligator lurks at the water’s edge off to the right. My arms ache a little, but I feel a sense of purpose as I push the boat around the next bend. Marsh grasses extend to the horizon in all directions.

One thing I find pleasantly missing: the intrusions of the modern world.

I’ve heard that some other people have ulterior motives when they paddle or troll these waters: These marshes are full of fish and crabs!

Red drum, speckled trout, flounder and blue crab offer both sport and the possibility of a delicious dinner. Many people also pull in a rich harvest on the beach side of the park. There, you can fish legally without a license.

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As I return to the boat launch where I started, I’m tired but carefree. It’s been a good day, and I have a lovely dinner planned at the nice, new, wood-paneled park cabin next to the launch. Just a few years ago, after Hurricane Ike nearly destroyed the park, only an empty slab occupied this spot. The park has since been transformed.

Tomorrow’s another day, and I plan to explore the beach side of Sea Rim. I want to go beachcombing and walk the marsh and beach boardwalks, and perhaps go fishing in the surf.

Sea Rim State Park is located on Texas Highway 87, 20 miles south of Port Arthur, two hours from downtown Houston. For information call (409) 971-2559 or go to tpwd.texas.gov/searim.

 

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