Joined: 25 May 2009 Posts: 231 Location: somewhere on 130 miles of beach
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:22 pm Post subject: PINS 2/16-2/19
The Year was 1927, and soldier Louis Rawalt had been gassed in the World War and given 6 months left to live. He returned home to Texas with his fiance, took her fishing on Padre for one last time, and lived.....for 53 more years most of which was spent right there on the Island, just walking, and exploring. The rest...is all history.
Whatsup everyone? Hope all is well for everyone so far in this new year. I would have written this report up sooner, but I've been in and out of the hospital for several days. But that...we'll get to later. For now, it's time to share a story of one of my heroes, "Louis Rawalt."
It seems for a while now that maybe I lost my way a little bit, but I do believe I've come back around and found it. It's always been about the ISLAND for me...not the fish. Not the gear, the rods, the vehicle, yada yada yada....just the Island. And I've been doing a ton of reading up on Gene French and Louis Rawalt, among others lately, and sure enough, they all shared the same enamorment with the Island, with it's mysteries, it's tales of lost treasure, it's shipwrecks, and it's ghosts. I too share that love of history, and just lately am realizing it. You see...in my mind, the last frontier, the last unexplored morass of land...the last TRUE adventure lies not on the beachfront, but behind it! And that is how this adventure begins, with a hopefully 7 day trip down Island to find adventure, rest, solitude, and maybe even some treasure, arrowheads, or the like!
And as usual, it was impossible to get an accurate weather forecast, as it was changing daily in drastic ways.
So not accurate it was pitiful.
And before I could go, we threw a chicken, sausage, shrimp, and crawfish gumbo party at the house! What!
Annnd my sealines were overhauled for various issues that had been building up.
And I finally hit the sand.
But conditions weren't so awesome.
But the shark gods blessed me with fresh bait!
And the birds were in full on migration mode!
And it was just me down there...
Wonder what lives in here?
And the wind blew, and it was rainy...
And yet again, someone needed to be punched in the face.
And the backside of the dune was littered with these burrow holes...
And a dead pelican....
And there were some OLD coconuts back there too...
And the man-o-war were making a resurgence, as well as a bit of weed.
And they alllll were fresh enough to have their stingers trailing still...
And I got back in the truck and took a breather to study my map of the Island...for with it, I planned to find and explore many places this trip that I hadn't ever tried to go and see. And with it being February, the grasses dormant, and the vegetation thinned out, and the fishing slow, this would be the month to do these things!
And once again, I would come across more dead and/or dying creatures.
And he attacked me!!!
So I took more pictures.
And camp was chosen for the night, and believe it or not, I would stay in the high banks, a big no-no for me due to random fools running people over in the night, speeding through camp, etc etc etc.
But there would just as I had figured, be NO baits run out that night, not with the current and the swells that were hammering the area.
So I ran across a few deer!
And...some beauty on such a dreary day.
And rods got bent pretty quickly!!
And I soon had an entire cooler filled with rays.
But I would awake after a long and rainy night early, ready to get the day started. And I tell you what, those tent cots are worth every penny, didn't even get a drop inside.
And the sun peeking through let me know that once again, I was here to see another day.
And the birds would come out of their roosts and begin their daily foraging.
And WHAT a beautiful sunrise it was.
But the sun would soon drop out, leaving me to the mist, the fog, and the raindrops.
So as planned, I got ready to explore this area, for I wanted to scout out and hike the entire area of Dunn. Dunn was one of the line camps that Pat Dunn would corral his cattle in when taking them up island to ford the Laguna and to market. There were line camps approximately every so many miles that the cattle could be driven in a day. And I've never taken the time to check it out!
But first, passage through a rather tall dune field was necessary.
And with my new snake boots, I came ready for the job!
And it quickly became apparent to me while tracking through miles of coastal bluestem why Padre Balli, Pat Dunn, and others all saw the value in this Island as a cattle ranch. According to Dunn, it rated right at the top.
When do you think the last human ever put his/her foot where I had walked?
And nothing but the breeze in my ears and the sound of a roaring Gulf behind me filled the presence between reality and dreaming....
Well that, and some random butthole's plastic chair.
And the deer were EVERYWHERE.
So I walked with them...
And I found a dredge pipeline pontoon.
And after hiking for a mile or so along the algal mats of the Laguna Madre, it became time to head back, and hopefully find something interesting in the grass flats. And there it is! The Dunn line camp....you can just barely make out the fenceline.
And I found more beauty yet again on such a drab day.
And once back on the beach, the wind was HOWLING still.
But about 10 thousand whiting didn't mind...
And my coyote from last month was still hanging around, albeit not as handsome as before...
And the one and ONLY pompano of the trip would be caught...
And soon, it became time for camp 10 miles south, and dinner.
And soon it started pouring down rain again, so after reading a book for a while and relaxing in the truck, I retired to the luxury of the tent cot mansion and fell asleep to the sound of thunder and crashing waves.
And the next morning brought equally awesome weather conditions! Allright! YEAH! (insert jersey fist pump here)
And the wind shifted direction and I knew that the storm that was brewing...was coming. When...was the variable factor...
Creepy Steven Spielberg "It" movie clown balloons...I got goosebumps for real....
So I manned up and became a whiting warrior!
And then hit a quadruple!
And it soon became time to utilize the night's camp location to scout out what I knew to be somewhere back behind the dune line...Anyone see what is in this picture yet?
How about now?
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, well hello hello hello!
Believe it or not, that fool needed to step his game up, because he was so hard asleep I had to put the "Academy Snake Avenger II's" into his face just to wake him up. And even then, he slithered into the green shrubbery behind him and hid from me. Really wasn't feeling like chasing and biting people today I suppose.
And I drew near to the washout.
And the next find was so amazing, so utterly wonderful...a fragmented portion of Pyroglific Era 20,000 B.C. Ice Age Coppice Dune field mammoth dung remains. Actually, I have no idea what this is. I need a geologist. But I bet it's old!!
And I'm always and forever finding bottles, I always look for the ones with no screw top, they're older! Any old timers out there know what this might have been?
Me being me, I just had to go into said pond with so called "WATERPROOF" snake boots. Waterproof they are not. Crap-ademy you stink. Result----two hours hike back out with wet feet. "AAAAACCCADdddddeeemyyyy!!!" I can hear their advertising slogan now....
It was knarly in that pond, lemme tell ya!
And at this point, the weather started to shift and the sun peeked through and I knew that things were moving, shaking, and happening...
Wonder if any other human has ever seen this?
I really think this may possibly be a piece of reef rock! If it is...it's calcareous serpulid worm tubes, and sand. Jeez is must be old!!
And I was almost home, in time to catch the afternoon bite, yeah!
And the water looked like it was sharky...but ROUGH.
And the birds started flying looooooower than low....that's a question for Billy right there!
And who knows what this is! Wreck Wreck Wreck!!
And it became time to OBVIOUSLY fish this beatiful little piece of structure.
And after playing with the Convict Fish for a while, I played with some bonnetheads....and uh-uh, I KNOW this little fool isn't trying to bite me?!
And the winds BLEW...steady around 40mph.
And I found more worm rock....on the right...and it just LOOKED old!
And with the wind howling its tail end off, I went ahead a day early to achieve mission top secret and awesome number 3! The first tower!
And what a hike it would be.
Federal law prohibits sale? What is this?
And after a few hours, I drew near.
This observation tower was used by the Navy during the World War during the time the Island was used as a bombing range. You are looking at 70 plus years of HISTORY.
And I almost didn't post these pics, but I'm hoping maybe someone out there has a father or a grandfather who may have served in the area back then.
And I reverently took my leave, and left the tower in the spot she's been sitting in for the last 7 and one half decades.
And upon hitting the beachfront, the long delayed and "Dead wrong dale'd" storm had finally hit. And it was NASTY on that beachfront.
Unfortunately, I was about to run baits, but upon taking the kayak off it's strap downs, the paddle came loose, went flying out into the ocean, was caught by it's paddle keeper bungee, and promptly started spinning like a turbo prop airplane blade. Unbelievable...I wish I had a picture of that. Needless to say, it was all I could do to resecure everything and started looking for a hiding hole for the night.
Now I've got more hiding holes on that Island than the snakes, but with the wind from a slightly out of the dunes direction, they would do me no good. Still be getting sandblasted. With no choice, I took refuge further south and quickly ate, secured gear, and tried to burrow down for the onslaught.
Now, I thought I've had bad nights down there, but this night was unreal. All night hundreds and hundreds of bottles and debris would hit my truck, the tent cot, or just go flying by at 30mph. At first I paid attention then I grew used to it. Life on a beach that is trashed, quite literally, I suppose. Next, around 1am, the rain started coming down like cats and dogs. Then the worst, the winds came. They increased to probably 70mph and stayed that way for about an hour. I woke up to the @#$# tent cot LEVITATING off the ground with me in it. It was then...that I realized...all it would take is a waterspout or tornado and all and any of us tent cot fools are one day going to be thrown in the friggin ocean while still in our tent cots. NOT COOL.
The next morning it was COLD.
And of course, there was a pretty sunrise to compliment such a raunchy storm.
I packed up, made my coffee, and hauled butt for objective number 4.
Meet Iron Hill.
All I can tell you is what Ralph W told me. Said the man deliberately burnt what once was a big home down way back in the day. Been a pile of rust since.
Glass and Iron.
We humans sure do know how to make a mess don't we?
So I left that place, and headed further south, for another location needed my attention. The 2nd tower.
And after scouting the area, I would traverse through a washover channel from decades ago, then follow one of its fans out towards the site.
And the animals were everywhere.
And I drew closer.
To some deer as well.
The silence in this location....only the breeze to keep me company, and the utter isolation at this spot caused me to slow down, and really soak it all in.
And yet again....I found a another triangulation station.
Read carefully. This is older than the hills.
1939. Goosebump material!
Not feeling well at ALL....and having all morning been getting increasingly worse, I withdrew from that place to begin the long trek back to the sand. Quite a few times...my body felt so weak I didn't know if I would be able to make it back before dark. There was an elephant on my chest, and a rasp to my voice. I was also getting very very hot.
Soon, I came upon a more unlucky critter than myself, torn into 20 pieces.
But I made it to the beachfront, and headed south to get service to check the weather and consider my options as I physically was getting more feverish by the moment.
And of course, the Nic.
And I soon wanted to die, I felt so bad...
I like to think I don't need or want a thing from anybody, and I operate pretty much like a one man freaking flotilla, but I knew the tiny little things I had been ignoring the last few days had now burst wide open into full on attack mode. I was running a really really high fever, and had the chills so bad I couldn't be out of the truck. With 50plus miles to go before I could even hit the blacktop, I could very well be in big trouble. I was already running around 103 degrees temp.
As I left, I shot a few pics of the remains of "El Catcho 300 illegal Snappero and then break down and drift onto PINS and be rescued, leaving everything."
They should be brought back for the cleanup. I'm sure there's work for 'em.
Not knowing how I was going to make it off, in a high fever state of disorientation, I slowly made my way back up Island, and somehow one of my better albums found its way into my jukebox. So I let it ride.
Anyone that saw me and tried to get me to stop, or that waved, if I didn't notice you, it wasn't intentional! I made it back home safe and sound, and with a fever of 104 that night I'm lucky to even be typing this right now. I want to take this moment to say to anyone reading this, if you fish and camp like me, that's great. But if you don't, maybe that's not such a bad thing. Because after being in the hospital earlier this week, finding out I had pneaumonia, being discharged to come home and lay on my floor in chills for hours, and then back in a cold shower because the sweat is running down my face I'm so hot, I'm starting to rethink my one man flotilla idea. I like to think I don't need a darn thing from anyone, I don't want a thing, and I won't take a handout from anyone either. I'll keep my pride, and do what I do, while others do what they do. Frankly, I don't like the way some fish, and they probably don't like mine. But maybe, just maybe, every man isn't an Island, and every Island isn't so much different than all the other Islands. Be good to one another, and if you see someone in need, or in trouble, help them. The whiting are down there, maybe a pomp or two, heck who knows it's all in the journey anyway right? So get out there and get after it. As far as following in the steps of the inimitable Louis Rawalt? Well....I've got a long way to go before I can reach that one! But I got to feel that back island breeze blow, and hear the stillness that comes from listening that intently. And maybe, just maybe, he looked down from whever he is today and saw a young man trying.
Take care everyone.
Protect Padre at all costs for future generations to use and enjoy and never forget our freedoms aren't free.
Joined: 12 Feb 2012 Posts: 410 Location: Corpus Christi/Flour Bluff
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:36 pm Post subject:
Great read, Ive never been to PINS and thats pretty sad considering I've lived in Corpus Christi all my life. Hope to make it out there one day. Need to get a good 4X4 first! _________________ I like fishies
Joined: 13 Oct 2006 Posts: 341 Location: Corpus Christi-Southside
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:00 pm Post subject:
Thanks for the report. Last Sunday I was looking at the northern tower and thinking I would like to walk over to it. In the end I decided it would be better to wait and wear snake boots and jeans. Thanks for taking the time to let me be part of the adventure without worrying about the snakes.
Joined: 07 Mar 2006 Posts: 365 Location: San Antonio
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:11 pm Post subject:
Great post! I hear ya on that solo-thing. I've been to PINS about as many times alone as with other folk. I've been "saved" a couple times and helped others out a few times too. Gimme a holler if you ever want a tag-along. I don't catch too many fish but I can cook pretty good, heh. Its been a while since I've been to PINS...prolly 2 years. The pic of that burned down house site reminds me of the area behind the turtle shack. Lots of burned timbers, rust and stuff.
The holes are badger holes. We've seen them.. Awesome report. Best time to go behind the dunes to explore when the weather is crap. Lots of adventure and snakes are normally cold as you found too! _________________ "It's All About the Fellowship"
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