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HomeNL-2011-09 LP Lake Charlotte
Lake Charlotte: Lake Pass
July 9th, 2011
by Joe Coker

Location: Lake Charlotte—Buzzard Point---Lake Pass
Organizers: Joe Coker/Dave Kitson

This was a spontaneous trip that Dave Kitson and I did in early July. The main idea was to check out Lake Pass—the beautiful, roughly 3-mile waterway between the south end of Lake Charlotte and the Trinity River. We hadn’t attempted it since Hurricane Ike when it was completely clogged in spots and were curious to see if we could get all the way through now.

As usual, we put in at Cedar Hill at around 10am and headed south across Charlotte for the ten mile trip. It was already getting hot, conditions were good if a little choppy, and the water gauge was at a very adequate 9.35. Our attention was immediately drawn to the intense nesting activity at Buzzard Point about mid-way down on the western shore. None of our many trips out there had occurred around this particular date, so we were surprised to see all the action! Hundreds and hundreds of birds of all types punctuated by dozens of beautiful spoonbills…everything from hatchlings to raucous teenagers to doting parents. An awesome scene! Undoubtedly, the gators thought so too… probably lots of them laying in wait under the brush for a sure meal. Needless to say, we lingered quietly for a long time taking it all in. 

   
 
 
 
Buzzard Point

Spoonbills

Hatchlings

Finally moving on toward our planned destination, we passed Bird Island which was also active but less so.  We would check it out more on the way back. The entrance to Lake Pass was pretty easy to find… towards the left (east) side of the long stretch of willows lining the shore. As we went in, initially it was easy going. We were glad to find most of the heavy obstructions had been cleared out. However, we were amazed by how much new growth… willows, reeds, vines and other nasty underbrush (and big spiders!) had closed in on the trail, making it almost impassable in some spots. We clawed, pulled and bushwhacked our way through, wending our way around lots of fallen small branches. A good set of loppers and a small saw would have come in really handy. We of course forgot to bring any but will remember next time!


    
  
Lake Pass

Easy going

Bushwhacking

 
Cypress grove
Much in need of a break, we took the short cut-through into Miller Lake and had a floating lunch in the cool shade of the pretty cypress grove on the north shore. From there we made our way back to the main channel of Lake Pass and proceeded down towards the Trinity. Fortunately, it was all clear for the most part and as beautiful as ever.  We covered the distance within an hour or so and stopped at a nice grassy picnic spot across the Trinity from the Lake Pass opening. The Trinity itself was calm, pretty and inviting as usual.  Doing the whole circle someday would be a nice trip. After a little rest to stretch our legs, we retraced our steps back up the pass, remembering we still had to re-slog through the bad places.  It was a welcome relief to break back out onto Charlotte.

   
 
 
 
Lake Pass

Lake Pass

Trinity River

We took a brief look again at Bird Island, but didn’t linger too long. Charlotte was well on its way to being its usual afternoon, kicked-up self. It was a tough paddle back and more than a little scary in my very tippy Kestral. Glad to make it without tumping!

All in all, it was a really great day! Accomplished our mission! Really enjoyed Lake Pass! Got to see a great bird show! We made a mental note to mark our calendars for the same time, same place, next year!

To view the full photo album, with many stunning photos, click here.



 
Joe Coker