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Lake Pass
June 27, 2010
by Dave Kitson
Faced with the 95 degree heat of summer, a shady place to paddle was needed and Lake Pass fills the bill. Extending from the southwest corner of Lake Charlotte southwest to the Trinity River this stream in not very wide and is lined with tall, stately, cypress trees which provide shade for much of the route.

Natalie Wiest, Ellen, Natalie’s friend Marilyn (All three in one canoe), John Bayduss and visitor Belinda set out at 9:30 am across Lake Charlotte. Blue sky with puffy white clouds and little wind promised a pretty day and in fact we were living right because one cloud followed us for much of the time on the lake, keeping us in shade. Wanting to determine what water level is passable we first stopped by the gauge which read 8.65’and then made our way to the Lake Pass entry.

(Click on the thumbnail photos to see a larger version in a separate window.) 

The upper end of the pass has a fair number of fallen trees courtesy of Ike but they are all passable, either having been cut out of the way by the fishermen who are frequently present or they were not a problem for a canoe or kayak to begin with. In any event, we never had to get out of our boats. Marilyn wanted to check out Miller Lake so we took the little stream to the left and stuck our bows into the lake for a few minutes but decided to paddle on since it was too early to stop for lunch. Lake Pass looks a little like those long, tree lined drive ways you see approaching English mansions. The southern end especially is relatively straight with trees lining the route one after the other.


I guess it was too hot for the birds on this day since we saw only a few anhinga, white ibis, green herons and egrets. On both the way out and the way back we encountered a 4’ alligator that did not seem to be overly perturbed by our presence and let us pass without submerging. We passed one set of fishermen who had caught a few catfish but other than that saw no other human beings. Approaching the Trinity we took a detour to the left and checked out Triangle Lake, a small pretty lake about 30’ off the pass.


We ate lunch directly across the Trinity from the mouth of Lake Pass at a pleasant grassy area. The bottom here was firm mud although rather slippery but was pretty flat so it was reasonably easy to get in and out. We had a great view of the river from here and even had a sort of snow storm; the willows were still releasing cotton. Interestingly we were out in the wilderness but the grass in this grassy area was St. Augustine.

We decided to change the published plan and paddle upstream on the Trinity back to the Sulfur Cut but found out pretty quickly that while the current did not look too fast we were making minimal progress so we fell back on the original plan and returned back up Lake Pass. On this leg we discovered that someone is running horses on the south side of the stream. I wonder how they go about finding them and getting them out of the swamp if they want to ride. It was another beautiful paddle up Lake Pass to Lake Charlotte where we found the wind at our back for the whole trip to Cedar Hill Park. At 8.65’ Lake Pass is easily passable and I would guess it is fine down to at least 8’ so this is a good trip for most any summer day.