We had a few folks meet us from Baton Rouge for this trip so we met them at the boat dock at 2 o’clock bayou, just off of hwy. 190.
There are so many different types of paddlers, some like to see how fast they can paddle, some like to see everything they come across and some are in between. It can be challenging for some folks when there is a mix of all these types fortunately, this particular group of folks were all meanderers. They were quiet and took the time to see their surroundings, no one was in a hurry.
It was a very relaxing paddle where we saw map turtles, painted turtles and sliders to name a few. We saw great egrets, great blue herons, little blue herons and snowy egrets. He heard and saw a whole host of songbirds like northern parula, yellow-billed cuckoo and prothonotary warbler. There were also a few frogs calling like bronze frog, green treefrog and northern cricket frog. We only saw one snake and it was a diamond-back water snake, a non-venomous snake, often mistaken for the cottonmouth, which is our only venomous water snake. Some of the non-venomous water snakes in Louisiana would include the banded water snake, diamond-backed water snake, common water snake, green water snake, yellow bellied water snake and let’s not forget the salt marsh snake, mud snake and the two crayfish snakes.
Personally, I like to find snakes so that I can photograph and identify them. However, I have not been able to find every one of these snakes in Louisiana as of yet, even though I spend a large amount of my time looking for them when I am outdoors. That was just to let you know that they may be around but you unlikely to find them, even when looking for them.
Another thing we saw on this trip which was unusual was an enforcement agent for Wildlife and Fisheries. He came upon us and asked if we had life preservers, I said yes everyone is wearing one. He asked if we were fishing to which I said no. We chatted a little bit and he was on his way looking for fishermen. He said as he was driving down 190 he saw a few boats at the landing and decided it was worth stopping to be sure everyone was following the law. There were an unusually large amount of fishermen this day.
We had greeted them as we paddled through the cypress. The cypress in this little waterway are quite spectacular. They are rather old and hollow, which saved them from being logged a century ago. This is a good paddle in the summer because of the tree canopy providing shade. Shady waterways aren’t always easy to find and if you are going to paddle in our summer months, you might want to know where they are. Another one is the north paddle trail at Chicot State Park.
We had lunch on the water, thanks to Hub City Diner, then made our way back to the boat launch. It was a wonderfully relaxing paddle with some nice folks and I’m happy we all got out on the water together.
-Stacey Scarce, Trip Leader