Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019

  • 14 Replies
  • 1711 Views
*

Offline jim2

  • jim2
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1101
An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« on: September 28, 2019, 11:36:43 AM »
Tuesaday morning we the first customers at Johnson's Ranch and Marina and on the water 715.  We took a blend of new and familiar trails making a loop around the Turtle Shell area.  The cypress were just beginning to show their fall colors and a few  American Lotus were in bloom. Once away from the Marina we were alone on the water. A short video of the area https://1drv.ms/v/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AkkPDw3VHY3qckly0
sunrise on the water https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNMWZN7wa-Aki1rZJ36MZHpSvwz

We stopped off at Johnsons and stretched our legs before taking the U trail up through Jackson Arm and Mossy Brake to a narrow, shallow section of trail that winds the forest and out to be bayou.  Beautiful paddle. all told 9/10 miles. We returned to Johnsons and headed to Caddo Lake SP to get our permits that allow us to use the boat ramp at  CLWMA. While there we did the driving tour of the park stopping here and there to look around. Then it was back to the cabin on the bayou. We spent a very peaceful afternoon on the dock watching the Spanish Moss move in the wind.
 The boat ramp at the WMA is for canoe/ kayak launch only, the path is narrow and in a very heavily wooded cove. This is it in the afternoon, you follow Texas license plate out the main trail https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AkkXO-AwLkDVybDgq
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 12:19:32 PM by jim2 »

*

Offline jim2

  • jim2
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1101
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2019, 12:49:02 PM »
 At 630 AM that area is pitch black, a little intimidated we slowly ate breakfast, then dark or not it was time to go. Paddling into complete darkness and hearing all sorts of critters moving around and screeching was truly creepy. I spotted the 1961 TX plates using my headlamp, I turned it off a couple of times, pretty dark. A large fish moved right in front of my boat and made me jump! The was plan to paddle from Carter Lake, up Carter Chute to the Goat Island bridge, then go out on to Goat Island. Goat Island is one of the few public islands in Texas. The bridge felt a little spongy https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNMWZN7wa-Akjw1TmOjfQ-nu-Vu.  The island was kind of cool to walk around, we enjoyed it. An Epic https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNMWZN7wa-Akj1N_YqHAF46dbUk
 After our break on the island we continued up Carters Chute until  we reached Joe Moore Hole, open water. The bird life toward the end of the chute and the beginning of the open water was amazing, thousands of birds all feeding in the same patch of swamp.  The sun was fully up on the way back through the Chute, this is a great paddle. It's fairly narrow waterway with big cypress tree all through it, you really are paddling through a flooded forest, very cool. The Chute from the bridge https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AkjtD9lvWX9NNn90p

*

Offline jim2

  • jim2
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1101
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2019, 01:28:14 PM »
We stopped off at the bridge on the way back to move around some, then took our time going back to the ramp, Miles paddled, about 8, people seen, 0, birds seen 1000s?. I highly recommend paddling Carters Chute!
  Sitting at the supper table Wednesday  night we decided to not be such pussies about launching in the dark. Thursday 630 AM we launched into complete black, and paddled through the flooded forest primeval.  Undoubtedly the spookiest thing I have done in a long time , between the fish and the birds and the weird way sound distorts, it was creepy and exhilarating!   
 Carter Lake is one of my favorite areas, it's more open than the chute and more heavily wooded the the Turtle Shell area. Also I wanted my friend to see Smiths Slough, a narrow, winding hardwood lined waterway.  Coming out of the slough onto Carter Lake https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AkkRiQwtoDXoNSUAl  Each area on Caddo Lake has it's own personality with subtle differences. Once we hit bayou we turned back, paddling the bayou is nice, but boring compared to the other options. We went back to the ramp for a break and snacks before heading back out towards Hell Half Acre. This is a Texas Paddling trail and worthy of that designation.

*

Offline jim2

  • jim2
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1101
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2019, 01:46:24 PM »
 This is Hells Half Acre https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AkjTbXZ1e9kJUqJGQ  I will say this is the only spot I saw a snake, a good sized Water Moccasin, as soon as we saw each other everybody headed in opposite directions.  Headed back to the ramp https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AkkeOsd9tIOEpb3R0
We did a little Thursday Am knowing that we wanted to return to Johnsons Ranch after lunch. A short video of the area
 https://1drv.ms/v/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AkkPDw3VHY3qckly0.  We a four/five mile loop, we were both struck by how different the same place can look  at varying times of day.
Caddo is like Big Bend in a couple of ways for me, it's habit forming and I want to see every aspect of it, sunrise, day time, sunset, the stars and paddle/hike all day.
All the photos  https://1drv.ms/a/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AkiiVlQ-W7VIDVla9 
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 01:59:46 PM by jim2 »

*

Offline Jalco

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1100
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2019, 07:17:18 PM »
Very nice.  How was the weather?  Any problems with no-see-ums?

*

Offline mule ears

  • Administrator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4459
  • "He had to leave Texas but won't say why" McMurtry
    • 40 years of walking
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2019, 08:25:25 PM »
Looked like great weather.  Those Epic surfskis look like the old school down river racing kayaks I used to paddle years ago.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

*

Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2513
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2019, 09:24:31 PM »
Those who haven't seen Caddo Lake cannot really appreciate the spookiness of the place.  Unlike the Highland Lakes, Caddo is a dense tangle with Spanish Moss hanging everywhere.  Nearby Jefferson is said to be the most haunted town in Texas.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

*

Offline Flash

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2094
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2019, 09:39:46 PM »
Didn't a bunch of renegades hole up in that swamp during the Civil War? Then I thought I read somewhere that steam boats operated on Caddo from the Red River. Is this true?  :eusa_think:

*

Offline TexasAggieHiker

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1229
  • The road goes on forever & the party never ends...
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2019, 10:51:34 PM »
Great trip report. How’s the salvinia looking?

*

Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2513
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2019, 06:48:19 AM »
Didn't a bunch of renegades hole up in that swamp during the Civil War? Then I thought I read somewhere that steam boats operated on Caddo from the Red River. Is this true?  :eusa_think:

The history of the Caddo region is interesting.

Once upon a time, there was a giant log-jam dam on the Red River below Shreveport (this was before/immediately after the Civil War).  The dam had the effect of backing water up into all of the watersheds above it. 

Some Indian legends connected the giant log jam to the tremendous New Madrid earthquake of 1811; other legends have the Red River log jam being there long before that.

The Big Cypress Bayou was one of those backed-up watersheds.  The Big Cypress was so backed up that heavy steamboat traffic could travel as far up river as Jefferson, Texas.  Yes - that sleepy HWY 59 town was once Texas' #1 riverboat town.  The riverfront (now creekfront) in Jefferson still features a "turning basin" where the old steamers were turned around for their down-river trip.

One of the famous dive/restaurants in Jefferson is named "Auntie Skinner's Riverboat Bar."  Jefferson still trades on its riverboat days when it was a WEALTHY town.  Jefferson still has a huge Mardi Gras celebration because Jefferson was once very connected by river traffic to New Orleans.

There was a terrible disaster in 1869 when a large riverboat headed to Jefferson burned in Caddo and killed a lot of  people.  The Mittie Stevens is still there but might be raised by TAMU.

Shreveport is named after a Captain Shreve who made great efforts toward unblocking the Red River.

That task was finally accomplished, I think, by the Army Corps of Engineers who succeeded in destroying the Red River log-jam dam.  Their "fix" had the effect of draining all of that backed-up water.  Almost overnight, Jefferson went from being a thriving riverport to being just another sleepy East Texas town by a small East Texas creek.  No wonder the CoE has such a "mixed" reputation - they were the government and they were there to help Jefferson.
----------
As far as Civil-War renegades go, I'm not sure about the Caddo area (that entire area was VERY sympathetic to the Southern cause).  BUT there were a lot of renegades in the swamps, thickets, and forests of SE Texas.  The area known as the BIg Thicket swarmed with Civil-War deserters.  A Confederate force was sent into the BIg Thicket to burn them out - there is still an area known as the Kaiser Burn Out - Kaiser was a Confederate officer who went into the Thicket after the deserters and after others who refused to fight in the war.  The deserters had become a problem for locals who tired of stolen chickens and such.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 07:38:33 AM by dprather »
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

*

Offline jim2

  • jim2
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1101
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2019, 07:01:00 PM »
The weather was great for what we wanted to do. The mosquitoes only become a problem at dusk, then it's feeding time and you are on the menu. We went in or burned those candles, they worked pretty well.
The giant salvinia coverage this year was low, there were some areas covered with it, while most were not. The main trails were easy paddling, we did get on a short stretch on two where we had to shallow paddle because of aquatic vegetation , but it was not salvinia.
As DP said if you have not been you can not understand the spooky factor or really understand the beauty of the place.

*

Offline jim2

  • jim2
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1101
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2019, 08:21:20 PM »
Mules Ears, my Epic V7 is the 9th boat I've owned and by far the sweetest, sleekest, just plain feels good on the water boat I'm likely to own. I like the stability, cruising speed,  maneuverability,  glide, and it's takes a lot less effort to paddle than a traditional kayak. She's yar!

*

Offline Flash

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2094
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2019, 09:47:10 PM »
Jim2, thanks for the report. Sounds like some peaceful paddling through a magical place.  Reading it got me trying to wrap my head around and understand the history and the geography of the place. Dprather sure gave a good run down, but it has me now wondering how the freight came upriver from New Orleans to Jefferson when that raft was in place.  I suppose they offloaded it to wagons to waiting steamboats above the raft. Then from looking at the maps, it is obvious that the Red River channels have changed a LOT since the early 1800's when Natchitoches was actually ON the Red River. Great stuff to ponder.

PS - Found the answer:
Quote
In 1834–35 Capt. Henry M. Shreve removed the raft, but the river was not kept clear, and by 1856 the logjam again obstructed the river for thirty miles above Shreveport, backed up the waters of Big Cypress Creek to form Caddo Lake, and so made Jefferson the principal riverport of Texas until the removal of the raft again in 1874.
The second raft was above Shreveport, which made it possible to reach Jefferson...
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 09:56:28 PM by Flash »

*

Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2513
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2019, 10:13:23 PM »
Jim2, thanks for the report. Sounds like some peaceful paddling through a magical place.  Reading it got me trying to wrap my head around and understand the history and the geography of the place. Dprather sure gave a good run down, but it has me now wondering how the freight came upriver from New Orleans to Jefferson when that raft was in place.  I suppose they offloaded it to wagons to waiting steamboats above the raft. Then from looking at the maps, it is obvious that the Red River channels have changed a LOT since the early 1800's when Natchitoches was actually ON the Red River. Great stuff to ponder.

PS - Found the answer:
Quote
In 1834–35 Capt. Henry M. Shreve removed the raft, but the river was not kept clear, and by 1856 the logjam again obstructed the river for thirty miles above Shreveport, backed up the waters of Big Cypress Creek to form Caddo Lake, and so made Jefferson the principal riverport of Texas until the removal of the raft again in 1874.
The second raft was above Shreveport, which made it possible to reach Jefferson...

Ah so...
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

*

Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2513
Re: An Epic trip to Caddo Lake Tx 9/23 thru9/27 2019
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2019, 10:30:46 PM »
We must acknowledge that our interest in the wilderness combined with our interest in arcane historical foot notes make us (gasp!) eccentric :icon_eek:!!!!!!!!!

A little more info, this from a book about the history of Jefferson. 

It seems that the backwaters created by the Great Raft and the waters that inevitably bypassed the log-jam dam created some new sloughs and deepened some "Yazoo" creeks enough to allow river boat traffic outside the Red River.  These were constantly changing and piloting boats through and around them to the deeper waters (then) of Caddo and Big Cypress Bayou was a money-making skill.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments