Orange’s Tad McKee says he was spending money every year to maintain a motorboat – keeping up with the title, license and trailer storage fees.

With a kayak, he says, “You keep it in your garage and when you want to go, you just get in your car or truck. The trips are extremely quiet and serene. You’ll come upon birds and other wildlife who don’t even know you’re there.”

McKee is a member of the Southeast Texas Kayak and Canoe Group, perhaps not the most well-known outdoors organization in the Golden Triangle but one that certainly fits right in with its wealth of waterways.

Some group members own their own kayaks/canoes and some rent from area vendors. Most members are recreational flat water paddlers.

McKee will lead a kayak/canoe trip on Saturday, June 19, starting at about 9 a.m. from Orange Lions City Park – traveling up Adams Bayou to the award-winning Piney Woods Winery. The route will border on the outer boundary of Shangri La Botanical Gardens.

“We will not enter Shangri La on this trip but those interested can tour Shangri La after the paddle trip,” McKee says. “At the winery those who brought a sack lunch will eat, then anyone who wants can participate in a wine-tasting. The trip to the winery necessitates passing under two very low bridges on the I-10 frontage road. Paddlers will have to lie flat in their kayak or canoe to pass under these two bridges or portage their kayak and canoe about 75 yards over land.”
Except for the problems presented by the bridges, McKee calls the outing a good trip for beginners and one of the most popular tours the group takes.

Saturday’s excursion is expected to include at least 30 kayaks and canoes.

The trip is subject to last minute cancellation if bad weather threatens.

“Those participating should bring an approved life vest, a whistle or air horn for audio signaling and for visual signaling a mirror or the reflective side of a CD,” McKee says. “These are all Texas Parks and Wildlife kayaking requirements. Also, bring and apply sun screen, sun glasses and a hat to protect against the sun.”

To register with the group, or to receive notices of upcoming trips, e-mail kayak@outdoorstudies.

The Web site is To access the Southeast Texas group, click on “Paddle Sports” and then “Southeast Texas Kayak and Canoe Group.” Web viewers can get more information there and view photographs of past trips.