This was one of those trips that was just supposed to happen. We canceled the trip because of only one sign up but then a couple of folks from Minnesota called Friday afternoon planning on going on it the next morning. I changed the plans I had at that point to accommodate the travelers and the dedicated trip customer that still wanted to go.
We pulled up at the Lake Fausse Pointe dock at 10am and started our trip towards the old cypress on the south end of Lake Dauterive. We traveled along the bank photographing the gnarly knees, the windblown Spanish moss and the majestic cypress. We had a chance to talk a little, learning more about each other as the day progressed. We stopped off in a little cove to have lunch before we proceeded across open water to explore more along the banks. We decided to set up camp in mid-afternoon so we could paddle until sunset. We stayed at highland waters, within the state park boundaries. It is a beautiful site on an island and has wonderful sunsets through the trees. We however did not see that sight.
We had paddled down a canal that gave way to the invasive water hyacinth at which point we had to abandon this route. We paddled into more open water through a pipeline canal and passed Island Outpost heading back towards our campsite as the sun lowered on the horizon. We stopped along these banks to photograph the golden hue cast upon the tangle of cypress knees, the best time to photograph during that magic hour before sunset. As the golden hue dissipates the sky starts to light up. Most folks look out toward the setting sun for good cloud color but often times the best color is toward the east.
Once back at our campsite, sitting around the fire eating chili I had prepared the night before, we really got to know each other a lot better. Our local customer grew up in Columbia, one of the out-of-towners was a grad student in New York and the other, from China, is a professor in Minnesota.
The professor and grad student are working on a project called Kinship of Rivers, www.kinshipofrivers.org. It is an amazing project that I have decided to take part in by working with a group of students to create artwork and poetry on hand dyed “river” flags. Once we complete the flags they will be hung up in places along the Mississippi and Yangtze Rivers, as well as others, to “release people’s wishes through the wind, and soak up energy from each place, each river, each tree, and each hand that made them.” This year as well as last year, they will “bring the 2000 flags to the Yangtze as gifts and peace ambassadors from the Mississippi River,” making more flags along the Yangtze to be installed in Tibet. “From the roof of the world, our wishes for peace, harmony and clean water will spread to the whole world.” I really like this project and can’t wait to work with students to create paintings and poetry related to the way of life dependent upon waterways.
We saw a few osprey the first day and woke up to one perched in a tree near our campsite on the little island. Most of us had a good night sleep, we had breakfast and packed up our gear and boats for the paddle back to the dock. We enjoyed the sights along the way and said our good-byes but not before I brought them to a local fishermen’s house to get another story.
-Stacey Scarce, Trip Leader