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Caddo Lake

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Offline jim2

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Caddo Lake
« on: October 11, 2018, 07:41:34 PM »
My wife and I just got home from a four night stay in Karnack Texas. We rented a house on Big Cypress Bayou through VRBO. Had a great time!
https://1drv.ms/a/s!ArNMWZN7wa-AjXJfck3yrHqZvHBh

I'll write this up tomorrow, for now the above is a link to way too many pictures of bald cypress and spanish moss

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Offline rocketman

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 08:45:45 PM »
Great pics Jim! Can't wait to read about it.
Making ice cubes FROM THE SUN!!!

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Offline alan in shreveport

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2018, 09:09:22 PM »
I love Caddo Lake. Nice photos.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2018, 10:33:31 PM »
I look forward to you write-up too
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline jim2

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 03:07:30 PM »
We rented a house on Pine Island road in Karnack Texas, closest bigger town is Marshall also Shreveport La is forty minutes away. The house is right on Big Cypress Bayou, the property directly across is all a TPWD wildlife management area, no houses. The houses are mostly vacation homes with a few retirees living there full time. Arriving on a Sunday afternoon worked well for us, very little boat traffic on the bayou, and the neighborhood was quiet.
 Monday, October 8th was our thirtieth wedding anniversary, we got married on Lake Buchanan, and celebrated our anniversary on Caddo Lake. We started the day by doing a sunrise tour with John Wynn of Caddo Outback Tours      http://caddolaketours.com/. John grew up on Caddo Lake and we were very pleased with the tour. The sun rising on the cypress trees was really something to see, John moved the boat as the light changed, he knew right where to put us for the best light. John knows the history of the area/lake and is an easy person to spend two hours with.
 After the tour we returned to the house, where I got ready to go for a paddle. Caddo Lake SP is a couple miles up bayou from the house, so I went in that direction. At the park I went in to the small pond there, Mills Pond, it very pretty, small, but pretty. Along the bayou the cypress trees are restricted to the banks, in the ponds they are in the water. The foliage is just beginning to change to it's fall colors, perfect timing to be there! After the pond I went further up bayou till I spotted a slough, which I went up, until I had made enough turns where I still knew my way back and thought this the where you turn around. Back out to the  bayou and  to the house.
 That afternoon we drove over to Johnsons Ranch in Uncertain to check out the lake/launch and buy a map of the lake.  The view of Caddo Lake from Johnsons is striking and inviting, several boat trail begin in that area. The staff was friendly and helpful, next trip this is where I will begin my paddles. So I got my map and we headed back to the house, where I began studying the map.
   
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 05:32:38 PM by jim2 »

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Offline jim2

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2018, 04:41:05 PM »
 Tuesday was cloudy and gray, no sun at all, kind of cool. The cypress and Spanish moss take on a very different tone in the absence of direct light. I decided to go down bayou to check out Pine Island Pond and Smiths Slough.  There was some really nice fall color all around the pond and one huge island of cypress that looked like a fortress.  The boat road that goes on to the pond is where I took the photo of the End of the road sign, and believe me you do not want to go beyond it.
Smiths Slough is a narrow, shallow winding waterway that make it's way through hardwood bottoms, just what I hoped to see!  I went a short way out on to Carter Lake, deeper water meant water lilies, American Lotus and some of the largest cypress trees I saw. Herons, egrets, crows and king fishers made up most of the bird life, with at least one bird almost constantly visible. I should have gone further, time and distance were tough to judge out there, my phone was safely stowed and I used the map as needed. Next time I would like to make a big loop out this way and down to Johnsons Ranch. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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Offline jim2

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2018, 05:01:50 PM »
Tuesday afternoon I was content to sit on the dock and watch the trees, but, I had agreed to supper and a store in Jefferson. It started to rain on our way in to town, this would matter later. Supper was good and the store full of every kind of old time candy you ever forgot about and then some. The pralines were excellent!  Some pretty good down pours on the way back, limbs were down on the road. Once back, we found the power was out. This turned out to be a good thing, we sat outside and enjoyed the surroundings, Just about when I began to wonder about the food in the fridge, the power came back on and I got ready for the next days paddle.
 The folks at Johnsons Ranch were friendly and helpful, and it's great place to launch. The weather was cool and crisp, perfect fall day. First I took the U trail till it ended, very nice. then returned toward Johnsons and picked up the NN trail. The NN trail is narrow and shaded and wind through cypress trees, very cool!
Soon the NN trail hits the M trail, which leads to what I though was the most beautiful area, hard to say why these two trails were my favorite. Something about the way the trees are dispersed, this is where I made the video. On the way back I retraced my steps part of the way then made a small loop before returning to Johnsons.

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Offline jim2

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2018, 05:28:49 PM »
Back at the house, I refueled, rested and was ready to go do more tourist stuff with the wife. When she said that hanging at the dock sounded good to her, I sprung into action. I threw on my paddling clothes, grabbed what I needed and headed right back to johnsons Ranch. I enjoyed the NN and M trails just as much the second time as I did the first, this time I went farther out to the C and M trail junction. This was the only area where the white water lilies were blooming. If you have limited time to paddle Caddo  start with the NN and M trails.
Wednesday night we did a sunset tour with John Wynn, yes same guy. We launched at 6 and stayed out until about 8. John took us out onto Carter lake, absolutely beautiful experience. Once the sun starts to go down it gets spooky quick. Sound out there really plays tricks, one dog parking sounds like a hell hound. The owls, the fish moving the water, and feeling completely lost all add to the eeriness. Great thing to do.
Caddo Lake should be on every Texans bucket list, truly a beautiful and unique place.
The Nevers
never saw an alligator
never saw a snake
never got bit by a mosquito
never got off the well marked boat roads
never saw Bigfoot, though I may have heard him!

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Offline dprather

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2018, 06:37:47 PM »
Jim - my wife and I have smaller (10.5") sit-inside kayaks - are those ok for the boat trails????

Please give expanded info about kayaking in Caddo Lake.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline jim2

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2018, 07:05:31 PM »
Your boats will be fine on Caddo. I was uncertain about going out on the lake no real reason to be. First buy the map! It's available  through johnsons and they will ship it.
http://johnsonsranch.net/

Stick to the trails and you will fine, they are well marked and easy to follow. Yes people got lost out there, but, if you can hike BBNP and not get lost than you paddle Caddo and not get lost. Other than the wind and motor boats there are no hazards to paddlers. John Wynn said the alligators are very shy on Caddo.
Hard winters kill the giant salvinia, this past one was considered hard, meaning a good year for the lake trails being open. Spring is also good, I think winter could be a good time to be out there.
If there's something else you want to know please ask

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Offline jim2

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2018, 07:20:20 PM »
There are fifty miles of paddling trails on Caddo Lake
https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/inland/




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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2018, 08:49:14 PM »
GREAT report, Jim! Thanks!!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline alan in shreveport

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 09:04:54 PM »
   " I was uncertain about going out on the lake"

Uncertain ?? Is that a play on words ?  ( Did you see the movie ? )

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 09:27:22 PM »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline jim2

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Re: Caddo Lake
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2018, 10:55:56 AM »
   " I was uncertain about going out on the lake"

Uncertain ?? Is that a play on words ?  ( Did you see the movie ? )
Don't know the movie. Yes it was play on words

 


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