Springtime on Buffalo Bayou

Through the Woods on a Brilliant Sunday Morning

April 19, 2018


At last spring had sprung. The trees were bursting with joyous green, celebrating by tossing enormous amounts of pollen into the air. Time for our seasonal photograph of that Bend in the River. Our dedicated photographer Jim Olive was preoccupied with saguaro cacti in California, so it was up to a couple of lesser talents to document Spring 2018 on Buffalo Bayou.

We set off from the small parking lot on the South Picnic Loop in Memorial Park and headed down the path into the woods. The sunlight sparkled through the trees, though some of our old friends had fallen, lying now against the slumped bank. The bayou, now visible through those that remained, was closer. Flow was about 650 cubic feet per second after a brief thunderstorm the day before. The dirt path was soft. We were delighted to see that the high bank in the park that had been damaged and defaced by the unauthorized installation of a rogue mountain bike jump has healed. The wooden jump that had been pounded into the very edge of the bank has been removed, and only a few holes remained.

Unauthorized wooden jump for mountain bikes has been removed from the edge of the high bank of Buffalo Bayou in Memorial Park and little trace remains. Photo April 15, 2018


The last time we had walked in these woods the rolling landscape, carved by ravines, was brown, muddy, monotone, and empty. The trees were skeletal.  Winter can be frightening that way, especially in a city so badly hurt by an unprecedented flood. Would life return?

But now the banks that had slumped during the high waters from Harvey appeared to be healing. There was still little ground cover on the slopes of the small tributary that drains the center of the park, and the winding path of the tributary was much changed. One could now see from the shallow creek over the diminished bank of the bayou towards the distant golf course on the south bank far downstream, stripped of trees and vegetation years ago and now covered in plastic sheeting by the River Oaks Country Club.

This small creek, a tributary of Buffalo Bayou draining from the center of Memorial Park, was also much changed by floodwaters of Harvey. Photo April 15, 2018


Elsewhere the bayou was renewing itself, adjusting to our changing climate. Here is the Bend in the River that we have been documenting through the seasons for the last four years. You can see the entire series here.

Springtime on that Bend in the River, a high bank on Buffalo Bayou. Looking downstream from Memorial Park, River Oaks Country Club property on the opposite (south) bank. Photo by SC on April 15, 2018


And here is a photo looking upstream from the same high bank in Memorial Park.

Looking upstream on that Bend in the River from a high bank in Memorial Park. River Oaks Country Club property on the opposite bank. Photo by SC on April 15, 2018

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