I carefully crawled up this leaning tree in the San Marcos River, downstream of Martindale. Jimmy Harvey photo

I’ve been eyeballing a leaning tree in the San Marcos River for the past few months.
Someone nailed a couple of boards along its backbone, and I’ve been tempted to stop and climb it each time I paddled past. Honestly, it looked a little scary, so I never made the time for it – until now.
The tree arcs over a deep hole on a stretch of the river between Shadygrove Campground in Martindale (9515 FM 1979) and the dam at Staples, which I paddle with my buddy Jimmy Harvey about once a week.
Getting out in nature during the pandemic has kept me steady; everything on the water feels the same as it did a year ago, before Covid hit. Jimmy and I get a little exercise, a couple of hours to chat, and pure Texas views of blue herons, turtles and towering cypress trees.

I climbed to the fork in branches. Next time I’ll go higher! Jimmy Harvey photo

Bombs away! Jimmy Harvey photo

Splashdown Jimmy Harvey photo

Yesterday, I finally stopped, shimmied carefully up the tree (the trunk is partway underwater, so it’s slippery with algae), and took the plunge.
My hat flew off, but I captured it before it sunk. The water – blue-green and cool, and dappled with sparkling sunlight – felt amazing. I clambered back into my boat and continued my trip down the river.
I can’t wait to go back. I’m climbing even higher into the Jumping Tree’s branches next time I pass it.

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I’m Pam LeBlanc. Follow my blog to keep up with the best in outdoor travel and adventure. Thanks for visiting my site.

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