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Wednesday, November 15, 2017



The name sounds so romantic.  It means "thick or heavy bush," for the heavy canebreak that once filled the Gulf Coast in this area.  While it refers to a place in the Canary Islands, it also refers to a beautiful beach area in Texas.

Matagorda is the 3rd oldest town in Texas. It was established in 1827 when Stephen F. Austin obtained permission from the Mexican government to build a town to protect incoming settlers. Elias R. Wightman, who was one of Stephen F. Austin’s early surveyors, traveled to Matagorda in 1829 with 60 immigrant settlers.

The beach at Matagorda produces beautiful shells.  Look at these gorgeous sundial shells that we collected in 4 hours of strolling along the beach:

We arrived at the parking and picnic area, which was decorated with abstract sculptures across the top of the dunes:

A long, wooden pier juts out from the beach, crosses the dunes, and extends to a jetty that juts further out into the Gulf of Mexico:

The most popular activity in Matagorda is visiting the beach. Matagorda is a fishing hot spot on the Texas coast. It provides access to both East and West Matagorda Bays, Matagorda Beach, and the Gulf of Mexico.

On the pier, we spied several fisherman who were trying their luck on this gorgeous, sun-filled day.  One caught a huge redfish, which Kathy admired so much, she expressed her appreciation directly to the little feller:

After congratulating the fishermen on their catch, we walked further out on the pink granite jetty.  Kathy paused to summon Poseidon, the god of the oceans, to join us on the jetty --

-- and he surprised her with his eagerness to join her!

There were several jetties, on each of which fishermen were trying their luck.  We spied one framed between two large wooden logs buried in the beach:

Here is how the granite jetty looked to us as we strolled out along it toward the point:

Once we reached the end of the jetty, we had to take a selfy with the guardian of the beach:

Once we had explored the jetties and pier, we started a 6 mile walk along the beach.  Everywhere we went, we spotted tracks of local birdlife:

Matagorda County has been #1 in the nation since 1997 in the North American Audubon Christmas Bird Count with 234 different species spotted. Among the more impressive species which have been reported are the Prairie warbler, Common poorwill, Broad-winged hawk, MacGillivray's warbler, and Swainson's warbler.  We spotted hordes of seagulls, some cormorants, and one very huge white heron on a small island in the middle of a pond in the wetlands:

Further along the beach, we discovered a probable survivor of Hurrican Harvey - a pound of coffee, unopened!  We thought it best not to take the coffee home to taste.  Beyond probably being very salty, it probably had spoiled from its stormy saturation:

The day was hotter and much sunnier than we expected.  Luckily, we came prepared with shorts and t-shirts.  We had plenty of suntan lotion, and - on the walk back - we took our shoes off to cool our tootsies in the gentle surf.

By the time we returned to the Jeep, we were tired and hungry.  We repaired to the River Bend Restaurant & Tavern, where we tried a Ziegenbock Amber Lager:

Kathy had a half dozen oysters on the shell.  The oysters were way fresh, having been harvested right on the Gulf here at Matagorda.  David chose a basket of shrimp, also locally harvested.  What a great afternoon meal!

Matagorda is also known as one of the best kayaking and kayak fishing destinations on the Texas coast due to miles of shallow marsh area only accessible by kayak. There are miles of designated paddling trails in the Matagorda area.  Had we known that before we drove the 1.5 hours down here from our campground, we would have brought our kayaks.  But our visit gave rise to a vision that, in a couple years, we'll spend the winter crossing the southern border of the nation, and include many stops on the Gulf, including a stop to kayak the marshes of Matagorda.

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