May 22-25, 2015
by Terri Morgan
Dwight Luedke, Paul Woodcock, Karen Newcomb, Matt Bruns, Joe Coker, Gloria Shinabarger, Kent Walters and myself took up residence Memorial weekend at The Moonglow Lodge in Uncertain, Texas.
The lodge was a perfect fit. It offered a huge screened in porch, perfect for socializing, sleeping and dropping gear after paddling. The interior consisted of a nice family room with a TV, three nice sized bedrooms, a big roomy kitchen and a kitchen table that seats 8. Beverly, the proprietor gave us access to an extra full bath across the street which came in handy so we wouldn’t have to wait in line for the shower. There were so many whimsical decorations, that you had to take a few moments in each room to let the ambiance sink in and get a real feel for the charm of this quaint lodge.
Friday, the early birds, Matt, Joe and I, paddled a trail that led down by some houses and a couple of restaurants. It was a nice paddle to get acclimated to the area. The rest of the gang arrived that evening and after everyone settled in we made our way to a local restaurant for dinner. After filling our tummies, we headed back to the lodge for a briefing on a paddle route for the next day.
Saturday morning we were off to a great start as Gloria prepared a fabulous breakfast of sausage, egg and potato tacos with salsa, juice and coffee and banana nut bread. We were debating about a nap after all that wonderful food but we mustered up and headed down to the launch. The paddle was great and the trail markers were easy to follow. We saw a hawk being harassed by birds, a turtle that tried to get away from our approaching kayaks but fell into a root crevice, which made for a good photo opp, and some neat real estate. On another route, we came across a tea room and a beaver hut. Still deeper into the swamp, we spied a patch of lotus flowers where we stopped in for a sniff and saw a few duck blinds. The maps came in handy except for one user who was having a hard time reading it. This was of some concern to me as this person is a veteran paddler with lots of experience under their belt and should not be having a problem reading a map. Turns out they put it in a “protected sleeve” that had condensation, causing the ink to run. It’s now the official “I can’t tell where we’re at” map.
The area was just gorgeous. The water was a different color throughout the lake from a blackish color, to a rusty mud color to a soft brown/green. The trees were tall and had all sorts of formations but the main ingredient was the moss draping down which was even prettier when the wind blew as it gave that wispy effect. We made our way back to the lodge after a wonderful paddle, where we were treated to appetizers and homemade Sangria, which was just a primer for what was to come. Karen fixed two kinds of killer tacos, crispy beef and chicken tortilla, with rice and beans, pico, jalapenos, lettuce, cheese, sour cream. Gloria chipped in and made some fresh guacamole. The evening was finished off at the Poop Deck overlooking the water and watching the sunset.
Sunday was a repeat with left-over breakfast. Joe and Matt suggested an alternate route to paddle so we ran a shuttle to the state park and paddled over the top of Goat Island. This was a very pretty route and a bonus as the water was up which created more areas to explore and get back into, away from the main channel. We came across an abandoned lodge where time stood still. Once a thriving getaway destination, it has been untouched for quite some time. The beds in the cabins were still made with blankets and pillows; the kitchen was still intact with all the dishes at the ready. It was surreal. After stretching our legs, we were once again off to find the picnic/camping spot on Goat Island. We found it just a short way down and pulled in for a bite to eat. Here, Joe found a snake that everyone had walked past on the way to the campsite. After a few minutes, the wind all of a sudden picked up and we heard rumbles of thunder. We hopped back in the kayaks and paddled on, hoping to get out of the way of whatever was coming. Our efforts were in vain as the rain started softly as a sprinkle then quickly became a downpour. We hid in between the tall cypress trees but that offered little protection. Paul gave Gloria a tarp to use and she made a nice little hut in the kayak. Everyone was real trooper as we stuck it out for about 10 minutes or so. After the rain let up, we paddled on, exploring as we went. We did not see another person on this route. You could tell at normal tide, the channel is narrow and could be difficult to paddle in low water. This route was very pretty and what we all had envisioned our trip would be like. Along the way, Matt had found a lightbulb and holding it over his head he stated “I have an idea”. Then the puns started; “You light up my life”, “You’re not a dimwit after all” That’s the kind of humor we had all weekend. A one stop comedy show.
We finally arrived back at the base camp where some went to get their cars from the launch site while others prepared appetizers and awaited their return. Happy hour was started with homemade margaritas which helped ease the pain from sitting for 12 miles and dinner was grilled chicken, tater salad, slaw, corn on the cob and baked beans by yours truly. We stayed up late rehashing the days’ trip, telling stories, jokes and whatnot.
Monday came as we slept in, rising at our own pace, finishing off leftovers. Karen was ready for another paddle and ventured out to check out an area of the lake that we somehow didn’t paddle. Packing up to head back was somber and we vowed to return again next year, bigger and better. Thanks to all the participants for coming and sharing a truly wonderful weekend. A big thanks to Beverly and Ernest of Moonglow Lodge who were very welcoming, hospitable and made us feel right at home. If you get a chance to get out that way, their place is the place to stay: moonglowlodge.com
Terri's photo album can be viewed here.
|The author, Terri Morgan