The Nueces River: Río Escondido

by Margie Crisp
with artwork by William B. Montgomery
Foreword by Andrew Sansom

First appearing on early Spanish maps as the Río Escondido, or hidden river, and later named Río de las Nueces after the abundant pecan trees along its banks, the Nueces today is a stream of seeming contradictions: a river that runs above and below ground; a geographic reminder of a history both noble and egregious; and a spring-fed stream transformed into a salty steep-sided channel.

From its fresh, clear headwaters on the Edwards Plateau, Margie Crisp and William B. Montgomery follow the river through the mesquite and prickly pear of the South Texas Plains, to the river's end in Nueces and Corpus Christi Bays on the Gulf of Mexico. Through vivid prose and paintings, they record their travels as they explore the length of the river on foot, in kayaks, and fishing boat, ultimately weaving a portrait of today's Nueces. Capturing the river's subtle beauty, abundant wildlife, diverse culture, and unique history of exploration, conflict and settlement, they reveal the untold story of this enigmatic river with passion, humor, and reverence.

Texas A&M University Press
River Books, sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment,
Texas State University


"In a Texas famous for its droughts and deserts, people are sometimes surprised to learn of its distinctive rivers. They are not commercially navigable and are often shrouded from public view on private land. In this volume Margie Crisp and William Montgomery, author, photographers, and painter, reveal the Nueces River, one of the hidden gems of Texas, and take the reader on an enchanting journey from its sources on the Edwards Plateau to the mouth among the oil refineries of Corpus Christi Bay". — Ron Tyler, Retired director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

"From the picturesque Nueces Canyonlands to the fabled Nueces Strip, the rugged Nueces River looms large in the cultural and ecological fabric of the Hill County and brush country alike. Absent a plunge in the gin clear pools of its Hill Country headwaters, a trek under the sprawling gallery woodlands along its south Texas cut banks, or a paddle through the delta where the river meets the sea, the Nueces can now be explored through the pen and the lens of Margie Crisp and William Montgomery's beautifully chronicled treatise of this meandering and magical Texas river. With an obvious love of the land that surounds it, the river that runs through it, and the people that live, ranch, work, and play on and around it, Crisp and Montgomery share the bounty, richness, history, and stores of the Nueces in its many forms, its many characters, and its many contrasts. If you are looking for a good run of the river from the aquifer to the estuary, this book about the Nueces is as good as it gets."— Carter Smith, Executive Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.