Friday, January 28, 2011

Bettering Our Bayou Trails

Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail 
I have an affair with Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) in Austin. Don't worry, my husband Chad knows! We both love Austin, but it's the lake and its hike and bike trail that get me every time. I love watching the kayaking, rowing and stand-up paddlers, the dogs, the strollers and exercisers, the soccer players at adjacent Zilker Park, the bats at Congress Avenue and the Austin skyline, ever-changing. While we both wouldn't mind living in that great city again one day (We both lived there for college.), for now we will just be visiting. While Houston has no Colorado River running through it, we do have a very prominent bayou: Buffalo Bayou. Sadly, we have not given it the attention it deserves.

So, what is a bayou? According to, a bayou is:

 –noun, plural -ous. Chiefly Lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf States.
1. a marshy arm, inlet, or outlet of a lake, river, etc., usually sluggish or stagnant.
2. any of various other often boggy and slow-moving or still bodies of water.

I strongly believe that our marshy arm and the hike and bike trail around it could be so much better than it is today. Maybe it will never be the caliber of Lady Bird Lake, but it can most certainly be better than it is today. After all, we have the skyline, the bats, the exercisers, the dogs and the occasional strollers.

While Houston gets a bad rap for its hot, humid weather, just this week we have had some bluebird days. Perfect days for a bike ride, wouldn't you say? There aren't many cities where you can go on a pleasant bike ride this time of year. New York City, for instance, received 19 inches of snow yesterday, God bless it.

Last month we had some similar beautiful days, so Chad and I decided to go on a bike ride around Buffalo Bayou along Allen Parkway and down Memorial Drive. I brought my camera to document the ride. I felt a bit like Aron Ralston in 127 Hours. (Great movie, by the way!) Look at these photos--the sad trails and happy improvements--and imagine the possibilities.

Sad trail
Happy! A new pedestrian bridge at Montrose 
Sad trail along Memorial Drive, great skyline
Sad trail under Memorial Drive nearing Downtown
Happy! Improvements underway, connecting to the Heights
Happy! Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade

Sad trails headed west toward Waugh
Oh-so-sad trail at Montrose and Allen Parkway
Sad trail along Allen Parkway and by the Wortham Fountain
Close-up of the Wortham Fountain and a happy, hopefully inspiring, image to leave with you
While the Buffalo Bayou Partnership has made tremendous strides the last several years in improvements, there is still a long, long way to go. Think about Austin's Town Lake. I know we can get there. While this blog's namesake harks back to an old Houston nickname unbeknownst to many today, the "Bayou City" is not. Let's own up to it!

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing the improvements being made. Although summers are ridiculous, we have some pretty amazing Fall, Winter and Spring days!!!



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