Virgin Cypress Paddle – September 16, 2012 – Trip Report
If these paddlers were not experienced before this trip, they are now. The day started out beautiful, mostly clear skies with just a little wind. Looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. The radar looked good with only a very small percentage of rain. We carpooled to Grand Avoyelles Cove boat dock just south of Lake Fausse Point.
We usually put our boats in on the northeast side of the lake, along the levee but since there was a slight south wind, I decided to put in on southeast side so we wouldn’t be pushed up against the cypress tress as the wind came across the lake from the south. The cypress are just as beautiful on the south side of the lake but you do have a short paddle down the borrow pit, following the levee to get to the lake. The south side of the lake also has native artifacts on long ago smoothed out Indian shell mounds. I have found pottery chards and a projectile point in the past. The Chitimacha Tribe, located in Charenton, claim these ancestral artifacts. According to tribal history, Chitimacha Natives settled Louisiana bayous around 500A.D. The early 1700’s brought slaving raids upon the tribe and those that did survive this and war were found to have settled where they reside today in the mid 1700’s. Melissa Darden makes single and double walled rivercane baskets for exhibition and has won many awards for her intricate work. Other than those in private collections, you can find them at fine museums throughout the United States.
I was hoping to share some of this information with our paddle group but that was not to be. We were at least an hour into our paddle when it started to rain. I took a look at the clouds and the radar on my phone as we got drenched. I listened intently before hearing, off in the distance, the familiar crack of lightning. That means we need to get off of the water but we are almost an hour from shore. I looked along the southern shore of the lake but it was just mushy mud and we could not make it to dry land if we exited our boats. So we had to paddle.
I told everyone to stay at least 50 feet from the boat ahead of them, stay within the cypress trees but not up against them and follow me. I started paddling out of there with 10 boats in tow. Finally I made it to the levee, where the camps are but as I looked at the camps, there was no shelter that would keep us safer than paddling along the shore. Finally, I found a camp that had a carport behind, that was our salvation. We stopped here, waited out the rain and had lunch. Once the rain stopped and the threat of lightning passed, we headed to the boat landing.
On our way there, one of our paddlers flipped their canoe. I turned around, pulled their boat onto my canoe to get the water out then the canoeists turned swimmer made their way to a houseboat for an easier entry into their canoe. That was one eventful trip.
I was very happy with all of the paddlers, they were real troopers and were just plain awesome.
-Stacey Scarce, Trip Leader
To see more photos from this trip, click here!