Top End of Mac Lake
August 3rd, 2013
by Dave Kitson
Joe Coker, Natalie Wiest, Ellen Shipman and I decided to take a trip out the top end of Mac Lake on Sat. Aug. 3. We met at 9:30 at Cedar Hill Park and set out on a great day with partly cloudy skys and not too much wind. The water level on Lake Charlotte was about 8.5’.
On the way to the Lake we stopped at the bird roost just off Mac Bayou and found that there are still some fledglings although not too many. I would guess in another week or so everyone will be gone. Other than the birds we saw here there were not too many seen on this day; maybe the rather hot humid weather was keeping them hunkered down in the shade. In any event, the trip up Mac Lake revealed only the occasional Anhinga and a couple of Great Blues. The button bushes were in bloom and there is a brand new stand of lotus at the upper end of the lake which was in bloom as well as a large stand of pickerel weed in the forest on the south side of the lake also in bloom so we were treated to a summer flower show.
We found the entrance to the little bayou at the far north end of Mac Lake and headed up. This bayou meanders to the north for the most part although at first there is a westerly section and then a hard right to the north. If you are doing this trip be sure to note where the hard right is because on the way back it is very easy to miss the required left and you can end up lost in the forest above Mac Lake, never to be heard from again. As we paddled, the trees increasingly formed a roof over our heads and the forest became quiet with no bird sounds and even relatively little noise from the bugs. We were able to make it all the way to the pipeline easement but no farther because the easement has not been cleaned out for a while and had considerable saw grass. We ate lunch here deep in the forest, far away from any evidence of civilization. What an amazingly peaceful place to be.
On the way back we surprised a couple of small gators which were not evident on the way up. As we passed a small lagoon not too far from the lake I noticed that the water seemed to continue back a ways so we decided to give it a try. The little lagoon led to another beautiful narrow stream that went to the northeast for a good ½ mile. This stream was even more narrow and covered by the trees than the other. There was a fair amount of bushwacking required and when I do it again I will bring my lopers but it is well worth the effort. As we were heading toward the northeast we were thinking that maybe this stream would tie into the Sulfur Cut, however, a check of Google Earth when I got home showed that we were too far north.
Once back on Mac Lake we decided to take the little side cut to the south. At 8.5’ there is enough water to go about ¼ of a mile back into the forest here. There was the thought here as well that we might be able to connect to the Sulfur Cut from this stream but once again a check of Google Earth showed that we were too far north. This area was covered with blooming Pickerel Weed and Natalie said it was the largest stand she has ever seen.
We took the short trip up the Sulfur Cut to a spot to get out of the boats and take a little, well deserved, rest and then headed back to Cedar Hill Park. It turned out to be 9 miles although everyone thought it was much more and 5.5 hours. This is well worth another visit (With Lopers) later this summer.
|The author, Dave Kitson