From its ancient headwaters on the semiarid plains of eastern New Mexico to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico, the Brazos River carves a huge and paradoxical crescent through Texas geography and history. Its average flow is the largest of Texas rivers, but its floods, low flows, silt, and natural salt have often frustrated human desires. It is one of the most dammed of Texas rivers, but its lower four hundred miles constitute one of the longest undammed stretches of river in North America.
In Exploring the Brazos River, Jim Kimmel follows this long, changeable river from its rocky “arms” in West Texas, through the stretch made famous by John Graves in his classic book, Goodbye to a River, to its lumbering presence as it flows, undammed and mostly untouched, down the Brazos Valley and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Exploring the entire river system, Kimmel first sets the context of climate and geology that determines the characteristics of the Brazos. He then explains the ecological processes that define the Brazos watershed before focusing on four reaches of the river, from the headwaters to the mouth. Each chapter features the captivating photography of Jerry Touchstone Kimmel and includes maps, charts, and descriptions of the water, land, ecology, and people. To encourage readers to explore on their own, Kimmel closes the chapters with tips on where best to experience the river and the surrounding countryside.
Amateur and professional naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes will find Exploring the Brazos River a practical and inspiring guide for the introduction of—or re-acquaintance with—one of the most important, historic, and diverse natural resources in the Lone Star State.
What Readers Are Saying:
“Popular histories occasionally sacrifice detail for accessibility, but this text infuses its descriptions with information about the scientific, cultural, and historical nature of the river that is both digestible and comprehensive. Kimmel maintains a level of informality and openness that is both effective and appropriate. A love for the land and a desire to make its history known transcends the text itself. Exploring the Brazos River: From Beginning to End affords a very good introduction to a system that is both complex and understudied. The book is well-written and well-researched. Moreover, it succeeds in making the riverscape a place that can be experienced on a personal level. This text should be mandatory reading for anybody interested in the waterways of Texas.”—Kenna Lang Archer, Southwestern Historical Quarterly
“The author does a marvelous job of guiding us along the entire route of the Brazos. The author points out key features of the river and the landscape. He thoughtfully lists state parks, historical landmarks, and places to visit. By using this single river the Kimmels provide the reader with a cross section of the state. The book is a fun read and is a welcome companion.”—Richard Lankow, Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas