Aquarena Springs, which has never gone dry, not even during the worst drought, has been the cradle of life in Central Texas for eons.
Watch out for sunken logs and fallen trees, which rest in the river like sleeping monsters in tangle of smaller deadwood.
Impounded, channelized, and pumped dry, the river gives up the ghost in the desert at Fort Quitman and is resuscitated at Presidio by the Rio Conchos.
Pass through the thick piney woods of Memorial Park, and you'll find yourself worlds away from the nearby crowded freeways and malls of Houston.
Next time there's a big rainstorm, go online and check the water flow at Wimberley. If it's over 250 cubic feet per second, call in sick and head for the Hill Country.
This stretch of the waterway is both safe and exciting, a great place to introduce kids to Texas rivers.
You might be tempted to dismiss this waterway as the Pecos lite, but the Devils packs a bigger punch into less than one hundred miles.
This river is usually too dry to be much good for floating, but it supports a host of other sports.
The lush woodlands along the river support a large variety of bird-life, including herons, hawks, and kingfishers.
What's missing from all the bureaucratic back and forth over permits and mining and dredging is a sense of the importance of the river itself.
Wide and slow, the river is lined with familiar bottomland hardwood trees like sycamore, cherrybark oak, and the pretty but invasive chinaberry.
Grass tussocks cover the frequent sandbanks, and behind them steep, thickly-wooded slopes complete the air of rustic isolation.
Roughly three miles from Junction as the crow files, the river veers across the valley floor and through pecan-forested bottomlands.