Roseate Spoonbills on Big Slough

Roseate Spoonbills on Big Slough
Roseate Spoonbills on Big Slough

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Paddle on Champion Lake

I wanted to go paddling, and since my right arm is still not up to my old paddling standards, I asked Natalie to take me in the bow of her canoe.  I also reminded her that she needed a set of cypress tree pictures showing fall color. Natalie decided to go to Champions Lake, which is really swampy lake full of cypress. I told another friend, who told two more, and on November 11, Natalie and I arrived at the boat launch to find three friends waiting on us and a fast moving storm just arriving. We all ran to the covered open area at the front of the restrooms and did a little catching up with each other. 

The blue dot is the boat launch

Waiting out the storm

Champions Lake is now part of Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge.  Natalie printed out the duck hunting map.  I always paddled it without a map. I just go up obvious trails, then either bushwack to the next trail or just go back to the open area. 

The on-line map for duck hunters

Cypress trees draped in Spanish moss

The three kayakers, enjoying the view

There are many little open areas, as well as thick forests and streams within the lake
The Spanish moss glowed silver under the lightening sky

We loved the dark and somewhat mysterious views of the cypress forest, but soon saw the sky getting blue patches and then turning a bright blue. 

We found a lot of black vultures drying their feathers after the storm ...

... As well as many anhingas

Milling about, looking for trail numbers

Tracy got us on it

After all that strenuous looking and picture taking, plus paddling a little over two miles, we stopped for lunch in our boats. 

Natalie getting her serving of tuna salad and spoon. She eventually got her crackers

I  got distracted by the reflections while turning back around after lunch.  Picture by Natalie

Great blue heron drumsticks

A tree full of white ibis

My shoulder, although recovering from overusing my scuffle hoe on weeds around the Discovery Center - part of my duties at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, did fine until we hit a patch of water hyacinth, mixed with alligator weed and duckweed. I'm still icing it down. 

A nasty mix of water hyacinth, alligator weed, and duck weed made paddling ten times harder

After about a quarter of a mile of slogging through invasives,we had another short, easy stretch back to the landing.  Everyone but me helped each other load their boats. Natalie and I killed another hour or so walking down to the dam.  We had to continually stop for butterflies, caterpillars, birds, a young buck and 
the only alligator we had seen all day. 

The requisite 'gator picture

This paddle was a record for me - the slowest and shortest paddle I've ever done. It was three and a half miles of paddling. The paddle, including lunch, took four hours.  I took about 300 pictures and then had to hold the canoe for Natalie to take hers. 

I have written about Champion Lake before.  Check out this link if you want to see more of this gem of a lake.  A Birdy Paddle on Champion Lake

Please leave your questions or comments below. I love to hear from you. 

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that you are writing your blog again. You have lots of followers and we all enjoy reading it.