My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Paddling Through Black and White to Pink

Yesterday Hulin and I went paddling in search of the last blooms of waterlilies. He had found both white and pink ones a few weeks ago and wanted to show them to me. We put in at Black Lake, which looks like a bayou, and, a mile later, turned into Black Bayou. We had to go through Bayous Chene Blanc and Little Chen Blanc. (White Oak and Little White Oak to non-Cajuns. - However I was unable to discern any change in the water colors.)

Hulin Getting ready

Houseboats - I've always wished for one

The edges of the waterways were also mostly under water

Being overtaken by one of numerous large motor boats

Lots of pollinators were visiting a small patch of these flowers - this is a fly.

This lab really wanted to retrieve us

After paddling about three miles, we started seeing water lilies in single or small patches of blooms. First came the common white ones.  The sun was getting low and they were either in bright sun or deep shade, depending on which side of the bayou the were growing. But the light kept getting prettier and by the time we found pink waterlillies, the light was getting softer.

White water lilys have green, spiky leaves

What are you hiding in there?

In the pink

Pink water lilies  have bronze leaves
Beautiful but deadly invasive water hyacinths- thankfully these are diminishing but giant salvinea are taking their place as destroyers of waterways and watery habitats

 Birds were in short supply. The most common birds were kingfishers who were fishing noisily,recently fledged little blue herons who were still white, and great egrets.  And there were several large flocks of female black birds that fluttered through the vegetation along the bayous or flew, in small groups, across them.  I heard one white ibis but it was hidden back in the woods.  And the waterways were fiilled with the "holler" of barred owls, starting while the sun was still a couple of hours away from setting. But we didn't see one until we were almost back.  It flew across the bayou in front of us and then sat in a tree at water's edge.

Can you find at least parts of 8 birds?  Click on picture to see larger version

Gray-green leg color, thin, smooth shape, and bill ID a this-year's little blue heron

One of the many vocal barred owls

  Soon after we passed the area where the water lilies, we turned into Blind River to start the paddle back.  We turned back into Bayou Chen Blanc and then retraced our path through Black Bayou and Black Lake for a 6.5 mile paddle.  We didn't even have to consult out GPS to get back.  We just followed the signs to Black Lake Grill, our put-in spot, which marked each turn. 


The evening sky got more beautiful and soon, I could not decide to look down or up.  It seemed we were were paddling at the junction of two parallel worlds, one where we looked up into a well-known sky, and another one, similar but much more mysterious, that floated beneath us. The western sky was filling with swirling cloud patterns that were changing color as the sun slid towards the horizon.

Paddling between clouds

Reflections were prettier than the objects themselves

The mature cypress were all cut so we can only imagine the majesty of 700 + year old trees.

The evening sun brought out the textures and colors of the stream-side vegetation

Just another sunset view

Fun's almost done