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.
|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.