Coronavirus has dominated our thoughts and lives over the last few weeks. And rightly so. This health crisis is affecting every part of our lives – including Pack & Paddle being closed as a non-essential business. What’s crazy is that Becky and I have been really busy finishing up offiice work, taking phone calls, answering social media, meeting some folks at the shop for a curbside pickup (thank you!!!). We suddenly realized we had worked 6 straight days and needed a break.
Tuesday morning we loaded our canoe on the truck (man I love a light boat!!!) and headed out for a paddle trip. We needed something close to home (we had to get back to the shop by noon). So we drove over to Heymann park just off of Pinhook and put the boat in the water.
The first leg of the trip is to paddle upstream on the Vermilion river. It’s about at 20-30 minute paddle for this part of the trip. The current generally flows south at 1mph which is not difficult, but it slows you down just a bit. On the way up the river, we spotted Harold Schoeffler out in his back yard. He walked over to their dock and waved us over. Next thing you know we’re inside sharing a cup of coffee. Lafayette is truly a warm a welcoming community.
After visiting with Harold and Sarah we continued up the river to the confluence of Bayou Tortue. You’ll know you’re there when you are seeing the fencing and some structures for the airport on your right. Then the river seems to split in half. Stay to the right to head up Bayou Tortue.
There was a very slight current flowing out of the bayou as we entered. Bayou Tortue contrasts with the Vermilion in that it’s narrower, more natural and has trees that overhang the bayou offering wonderful shade. We saw lots of wildflowers and bird life including woodpeckers, cardinals. Great Blue Herons, Night herons, and many more. We passed a couple of fishermen on our way up the bayou. As we emerged into Lake Charlo, we were treated to an amazing sight. There was a flock of at least 100 Roseate Spoonbills rooting in the mud for a morning meal very close to the bayou.
We watched for a while and then sadly it was time to head back to the truck. It’s all downstream paddling back to the launch and before we knew it, we were back to reality. Unfortunately. But whenever you have a couple of hours before or after work, this paddle is a treat you can enjoy over and over again.
Launch at Heymann park off Pinhook or at Vermilionville kayak launch
First leg up the Vermilion to Bayou Tortue is 20-30 minutes of steady paddling
Second leg up Bayou Tortue is 30 minutes of steady paddling
Third leg back down the bayou and then all the way back to the car is around 50 minutes.
Bring some water and rain gear if the weather looks unsettled.
Bring your binoculars and your camera because it’s beautiful!!!