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HomeNL-2011-09 MM Lake Charlotte
Lake Charlotte: Mud Lake to Lake Miller
July 31st, 2011
by Joe Coker

Location:  Lake Charlotte—Mud to Miller
Distance: 10 Miles
Participants:  Joe Coker, Dave Kitson, Natalie Wiest, Ellen, Tim Garber, K.I. Kerne

Lake Charlotte
near the gauge

It was hot with scarcely any breeze on Sunday morning July 31.  Typical mid-summer, but our small group was determined. Charlotte was glassy calm and the gauge was at about 9.6… perfect conditions to attempt the Mud to Miller route.  The heavily shaded trail would give us some protection from the beating sun.

Cut to Mud Lake

  Mud Lake 

As usual, we put in at Cedar Hill around 10am and headed south, grabbing as much shade as possible along the east shore. We found the cut to Mud Lake easily, even though there was no tell-tale outflow of duck weed that often marks the spot. The short jump over to Mud was un-obstructed and the lake itself was as glassy and pristine as Charlotte.  I toyed momentarily with the thought of again exploring the beautiful area at the S.E. end that Dave and I had bushwhacked some years ago. Made a mental note to do that in the spring…if/when the water level gets a little higher.

 Mud to Miller entrance

  Heavy undergrowth
We continued with our original plan, making the quick paddle southwest over to the entrance of the Mud to Miller trail. The opening was wide and clear as usual, and at the 9.6 water level the channel wasn’t too hard to follow. However, we quickly ran into heavy undergrowth and lots of fallen trees and branches. Amazing how dense and green it was. Getting through some places required lots of twisting and turning and clambering over stuff. Of course, that’s part of the fun, but a little “housecleaning” is definitely needed. Maybe I’ll organize a clean-up party one of these days. We could also hit some of the bad spots at the upper end of Lake Pass. Anyway, despite some inconveniences here and there, the approximate 1-mile trip overall was as beautiful and inviting as ever.

   ...and inviting

Smooth Lake Miller

  Spider at picnic spot
When we finally reached Miller, the wide open lake was a nice contrast. Like Charlotte, it can kick up fiercely at times, but that day it was totally smooth.  By that point, everybody needed a break, so we headed straight for the south shore in search of our usual picnic spot.  Unfortunately, everything was so overgrown, most of us settled for a floating lunch in the shade of the cypress trees. We might have lingered and explored some more, however the temperature was rising fast. Rather than going back via Mud Lake, we opted to make a quick retreat across Miller and cut through the top end of Lake Pass back to Charlotte. Fortunately, conditions were still very calm which made for an easy paddle home, but hot! We took advantage of good shade along the western shore, lazily winding our way through the beautiful cypress forest all the way up to Mac Bayou.  From there we made a quick sprint back to Cedar Hill and were out of our boats by about 3pm…hot and tired and dragging just a little. But we all agreed it had been a really good trip!  A glance back at Charlotte showed her to be as smooth and peaceful as when we had put-in five hours earlier. The end of another great paddle.

Charlotte west Coast    Afternoon calm 

To view the full photo album, click here.

Joe Coker