Turtle Bayou, Upstream from White's Park
Nov. 18th, 2014
by Dave Kitson
It looked like this Tuesday would be the best weather day for a while so I decided to paddle Turtle Bayou upstream since I had not done that trip for a few months. It was a perfect day for it, temperatures in the 40’s, clear deep blue sky and the leaves turning. As I put in I could see that the water was very low and as it turned out it was down a good 3 or even 4 feet from normal.
I figured that I would not be able to make it to the very top for the 7 or 8 mile round trip and sure enough there was a fallen tree at 2.5 miles so I had to turn around. It would most likely be possible to get over the tree at normal water levels but not this day. On the way up I encountered an American egret, dead, attached to a trot line; boy I hate those things. Heading back down stream I came upon a river otter with it’s head well out of the water next to a couple of stumps. We both sat there and looked at each other as I slowly pulled out my camera to snap a picture. I have a hard time seeing what I am actually taking a picture of without my glasses so I point as best I can and snap away. I looked up from the camera to see if it looked right and discovered the otter had disappeared. I now have a picture of two stumps. I hung around for a good 5 minutes but it did not reappear. Heading back downstream I rounded a corner and there it was again. This time it did not hang around but went underwater never to be seen again. The water was so low that I was seeing some sort of mussel or clam; maybe 4” long. Some were alive and some dead but I saw them all along the stream.
Since I had only gone 5 miles at this point I stopped for lunch at White's Park and then headed to the lake. The exit to the lake was completely different from the norm. There was a peninsula on both the right and left sides which left only 50 yards of water between. I have never seen Turtle Bayou this low.
The trip ended up at 9.2 miles and 4 hours. I would recommend that anyone give this trip a try now because the turning leaves are quite a sight. I have loaded the photos to the website so take a look.
|The author, Dave Kitson