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HomeNL-2015-01 Cypress Wonderland

Canoe/Kayak the Cypress Wonderland
Dec. 6th, 2014
by Tom Douglas


We had a big group for our December 6 canoe/kayak outing to the Cypress Wonderland – 18 people paddling both solo and tandem canoes and kayaks. As we launched our boats at the Interstate-10 bridge over the Trinity River, we knew that the route had been checked out on the previous Sunday, but, due to the operation of the Wallisville Salt Water Barrier, the water level had subsequently dropped by about two feet and then recovered almost to where it had been. Whew! We also knew from our river scouts that an invasive plant, water hyacinth, was likely to present a challenge. And then there were the duck hunters, who, to our relief, were through shooting for the day by the time we arrived back in the swamp.

With the temperature in the low 70s and a light breeze from the northwest, we set off up the Trinity, then turned to the east at Lake Pass. Floating mats of water hyacinth could mostly be maneuvered around until we reached the turnoff for Lake Miller, where some significant muscle power was needed to get through. With that behind us, we crossed to the south shore of Lake Miller, where we found the last 10-20 yards tough going because of yet more patches of rafted-up water hyacinth. But we eventually did make it up onto the shore for a fine picnic lunch in the woods, even if a little wading was required. The lively lunchtime conversation eventually lulled as we sensed that the wind was shifting direction and becoming a little cooler. Working our way back across Lake Miller, we pushed into the Lake Pass and then had relatively hyacinth-free going as we again headed east. The southern end of Lake Charlotte was becoming a little rough, but this only served to make us appreciate the calm that greeted us on Mud Lake and then on Mud Lake Bayou. Retracing our path across the southern end of Lake Charlotte, we found that conditions had now grown choppier. This presented a challenge, but it was met by some excellent teamwork on the part of Richard Cunningham, Joe Coker, Joya Chandra, Taylor Cutshall, and others.

 

        
Ready to Launch
by David Portz
 
Leaving the Trinity
by Alan Bernstein
 
Cruising Lake Pass
by Richard Cunningham
 
Lunch in the Woods
by David Portz


Navigating around and through the water hyacinth in Lake Pass on the way home now seemed a little less difficult, and our trip down the Trinity to the put-in was easy going with the wind at our backs. Loading up boats and gear went pretty quickly as we noticed that the temperature was now dropping again, causing those wet feet to ache a bit.

 

   
Lunchtime Parking Spot
by Ron Vlaskamp
  
Wind at Our Backs
by Linda Shead
  
River Scout Joe at Work
by Dave Kitson


Back home, with their feet once more warm and dry, several of the paddlers kindly sent us positive comments and photos, some of which are included with this article.

 

Check out Joe Coker’s photo albums of our December 6 outing, here

plus the scouting trip a week earlier, here

 

And you may also enjoy viewing Natalie Wiest’s video clips of our river scouts at work:

Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4.

 

The author, Tom Douglas