Wednesday, August 28, 2013

McCommas Bluff

The Mystery of the Trinity

You get a glimpse of beckoning potential mystery as you look downstream on the Trinity river from the Santa Fe trestle and its peculiar Standing Wave. Dallas before Dallas, sort of thing. According to early surveyors the area was remarkably rich in wildlife of all kinds. Danger too, from hostile Indians. Here's part of Warren Ferris' account of Dallas in the 1840s.

Everywhere deer, turkeys and prairie chickens were as thick as ants on a hill, with bear, panthers, wolves and wildcats keeping in the daytime to the river and creek bottoms, but after dark issuing forth to ravage the plains and startle the night with uncouth shadows, and hideous screaming and howling.

I saw in the picturesque regions there much of the wild soul-stirring scenes with which I had been so familiar in the Mountains. Thousands of buffalo and wild horses were everywhere to be met with. Deer and turkeys always in view and occasional bear would sometimes cross our path. Wolves and buzzards became our familiar acquaintances and in the river we found abundance of fish from minnows to 8 footers. The prairies are boundless and present a most beautiful appearance being extremely fertile and crowned with flowers of every hue.

The Trinity Rolls On

With Ferris' words in mind, I drove to McCommas Bluffs, overlooking the Trinity as it flows through its forest. You get there from Riverwood Road off of Loop 12 but be careful, the road dead ends at the Bluffs and is, or was, a dumping ground for stolen vehicles and worse. I didn't see any of that and rambled down the newly reinforced Bluff to the river, rod in hand.

View from the Bluffs

Looking downstream you can see the remains of a dam that was built at the turn of the last century with a view to making the Trinity an industrially navigable river. Its reverted to nature and I had fun casting into the rapids upstream of the structure. It was tantalizing to see big fish hanging in the current, ignoring my bait, but fun trying to change their attitude. I'll return with a different set of tactics.


As it began to rain I headed back along the base of the limestone bluffs, stopping for an occasional cast and reflection on the history of the place. Not that long ago, easily within living memory of World War I, the spot I was standing on was pretty much unexplored wilderness. 


It has something of that feel today and if you stay quiet and still for long enough, chances are you'll be rewarded with the sight of a great Gar rolling up midstream in the slow moving bend of the Trinity river as it flows beneath the Bluffs and the trees.

Big thanks to the excellent Trinity Trails blog for the inspiration.

Word to the wise, if you go exploring in South Dallas mind how you go; perhaps invest in a CHL, or go with armed friends, or something.

God bless,


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