AUSTIN (KXAN) — Would you ever consider kayaking nearly 300 miles to the Gulf of Mexico? That’s a feat Kyle resident Dylan Mumma recently completed, making a 292-mile trek along the Colorado River from the FM 973 Bridge in east Austin to Matagorda Bay in the Gulf.
Mumma has been paddling for a few years now, but he said a recent fallout with a friend pushed him to the waters to gain some perspective.
“I had in the back of my mind for a while that one day, I would take the Colorado to the Gulf,” he said. “But I kind of did it just completely unplanned and off the cuff and just fly by the seat of my pants. And it worked out.”
Prior to this latest trip, Mumma had made the 100-mile journey from Kerrville to Canyon Lake along the Guadalupe River.
He began his journey the morning of July 27, reaching the Gulf around 9 p.m. Aug. 1. Along the way, Mumma camped out in his kayak under bridge crossings, boat ramps and — brace yourself — near alligator nests in Glen Flora.
He also met people in communities along the Colorado during his trip, who brought him food and water in exchange for stories about his trip.
“It was just always crazy to me about how these random strangers would just go out of their way to help me,” he said. “They just give me water, food and all in exchange just to hear about my trip and what I’m doing. I thought it was just so cool.”
As he made his way into Matagorda Bay, he said he was fighting off some strong headwinds and some rockier waves. Despite these conditions, paired with the four days of travel and miles under his belt, he said he was thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with his thoughts and gain a better appreciation for the people in his life.
“You get out there, and life’s just a lot more simple on the river. You’re in the moment. You’re focused on the task at hand,” he said. “And the challenges that present themselves, you kind of just go with the flow.”
Prior to departing, Mumma said he reconnected with Central Texas resident Ethan West, who traveled 547 miles along the Llano River back in 2019. He credited him, along with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff, with being a wealth of information on best practices for navigating hundreds of miles of waterways.
In the future, Mumma said he hopes to one day kayak all the Texas rivers. But for now, he’s back in Central Texas with a renewed outlook on life — and, possibly, some sorer arms.
And no, he didn’t kayak back after landing in the Gulf. That ride back was courtesy of his good friend Colton.
“A lot of people were asking me, ‘are you gonna paddle up all the way back?’ I was like no, no, I don’t think I could,” he said, laughing.