While stopping by Harold and Sarah Schoefflers house on our trip up Bayou Tortue, we hatched a plan for another paddle. The plan was to head over to Lake Fausse Point, paddle the south shore of the lake and explore up Cotton Bayou looking for a few Iris’s that we could plant in the front bed of Pack & Paddle.
On Monday we got just the right weather and loaded up the canoe. We were expecting partly cloudy skies with a southeast wind. Perfect to put us on the lee shore keeping the chop at bay on this large, shallow lake, and a slight tailwind all the way to our take out.
We met Harold at 730 at Pack & Paddle, planned out our car shuttle and headed to the Grand Avoille Cove Boat Launch. We unloaded our boats and Becky and Harold headed out to do the car shuttle over to the Jeanerette Canal boat launch. When they returned we had 7.5 miles of world class Louisiana beauty at its best.
The rhythmic cadence of canoe paddles mixed with Harold’s wondrous mixture of stories and history. We heard about how the Atakapas, local natives of this area, had indian mounds in this area. Some were older than the age of pottery. He told us that some of the local natives would travel to the mountains of New Mexico during the hot summers. He spoke of the dredging of Cotton Bayou as a mosquito abatement project along with many other tales.
This route is a world class landscape in large part to the ancient trees that you paddle through the entire way. Every tree is unique with a wide sturdy base – some with cypress knees and some without, a short height to weather centuries of storms, and wildly unique bonsai appearances. Harold told us that they had aged the 9 trees and 5 of them came back as being over 1500 years old.
As we paddled, we saw many great blue herons, little blues, kingfishers, egrets, redwing blackbirds, cormorants, an osprey with a snake in its talons and several Bald Eagles. The first two or three eagles flew off before we could get close. The last one we saw sitting high on a broken off cypress tree was not intimidated by our approach allowing us to take its picture before finally taking off.
We were able to grab a few iris during our lunch break on the bank of Cotton Bayou. But these iris are not the only thing we took home. Every time those iris bloom at the shop, we’ll remember this wonderful day on the water that we shared with a good friend.
For more info and a map go to: https://packpaddle.com/places/virgin-cypress-paddle/