Slide your aluminum craft in at the Houston Canoe Club and head upstream. You'll soon find yourself in a verdant, wild tangle of green over blue, where deer still drink from the quiet bayou waters, gators still peek through the reeds of the marsh, and birds make dramatic and not-so-dramatic appearances. For example, the great blue heron at the other end of the boardwalk hasn't moved for minutes. Is it sleeping or simply monitoring the juvenile crab, shrimp and fish darting among the marsh grass? Vultures are more common among the sinking trees at shoreline, but keep a lookout for the stealthier white-chested ospreys and broad-winged hawks. Should you choose, drop the oar and drift south for a few miles. You can spill out effortlessly onto Pasadena Lake, where there's a salt breeze. From this mid-bayou put-in, you can easily reach Horsepen Bayou or even the University of Houston's Clear Lake campus. Paddling back to the park is a snap -- if you keep an eye on your watch and the fickle clouds above. Soggy paddling won't kill you, but it's not recommended, even in this magical territory, some of the last undisturbed bayou in the area. Bring a hat, drinking water, bug spray, sunscreen and -- oh, yeah, your sense of adventure.