Get out and explore! I always say, “There is more to this beautiful world than what’s outside your front door.” Most of which is only a few miles away, if not around the next corner.
Another fun trip in the books to Caddo Lake in Karnack, Texas @caddolakesp with my military Marine brother Russel @rklika. Since the pandemic we have been on a mission, when time allows, to hit up all the State Parks in Texas, to kind of decompress from life, get outdoors, smell the fresh air, and take in the world around us. Sometimes even walking away with a photo we love.
Nothing beats sitting around a fire making dinner and telling stories of what we saw that day or what we hope to find tomorrow. Camaraderie is what I think this world needs more of.
I swear if Russel didn’t have his Air Force buddy there cooking up steaks and porkchops he would be just fine eating his spaghetti and hamburgers. He says, “That’s all you need!” “How hard is it to make spaghetti, you just need boiling water!”
Our trip was three days in 100°+ heat. On one of the days, we set out to explore Caddo Lake bayou with an 8-mile round trip canoe excursion. We launched our canoe from Saw Mill Pond canoeing down the Big Cypress Bayou River to Hells Half Acre. In all, the mazes of bayous and sloughs cover roughly 26,810 acres of cypress swamp.
Note to self-moment here: Never ask a Marine named Russel do you want front or back in the canoe. He chose the back with no experience (he left that part out) and paddled here or there while taking photos along the way. The round trip was grueling on me as the Air Force guy in the front pushed through and steered to the point of exhaustion. (If you know, you know) Thank God there was a restaurant on the river near the end of our trip called Big Pines Lodge where I was able to hydrate and cool off. Dinner that night we laughed and joked about the day. However, Russel was from that point on is banned for ever stepping foot in the back of a canoe.
Caddo Lake is now marked off our list and didn’t disappoint, especially from the time spent together exploring and the stories we continue to tell. I would only recommend this place for a two-night excursion and would definitely find another access point to launch the canoe closer to Hells Half Acre which is a must-see place to get lost in.
Hope you enjoy the photos created from Caddo Lake.
Our other adventures so far:
Caddo Lake is a 25,400-acre lake and bayou (wetland) on the border between Texas and Louisiana, in northern Harrison County and southern Marion County in Texas and western Caddo Parish in Louisiana. This lake was the only natural lake in Texas until it was artificially dammed in the early 1900s when oil was found and for flood control in 1914. A new dam replaced the old one in 1971.
The lake and bayou comprise an internationally protected wetlands and includes one of the largest flooded cypress forests in the United States. Although many conifers are evergreen, bald cypress trees are deciduous conifers that shed their needlelike leaves in the fall. In fact, they get the name “bald” cypress because they drop their leaves so early in the season. Some of the cypress trees in the swamp are more than 400 years old.
Spanish moss is commonly found on the southern live oak and bald cypress in the lowlands, swamps, and marshes. It is neither a lichen nor a moss, and it is not native t0 Spain. Spanish moss is not parasitic: it is an epiphyte that absorbs nutrients and water through its own leaves from the air and rain falling upon it. While its presence rarely kills the trees on which it grows, it occasionally becomes so thick that, by shading the leaves of the tree, it slows the growth rate of the tree.
The average depth of the lake is 8 to 10 feet, with the deep water in the bayou averaging about 20 feet. The lake contains 71 species of fish, and it is especially good for crappie and largemouth and white bass. Wildlife inhabiting Caddo Lake includes owls, snakes, frogs, waterfowl, bobcats, river otters, beavers, eagles, and alligators.
Canoes, Saw Mill Pond.
Bald Cypress Trees, Saw Mill Pond.
Dark Fishing Spider, Hells Half Acre.
Mimosa Tree, Big Cypress Bayou River.
Spanish Moss, Saw Mill Pond.
Parrot feather, Hells Half Acre.
Indian Swamp Weed, Hells Half Acre.
Engelmann Daisy, Caddo Forest Trail.
Great Egret, Saw Mill Pond.
Loblolly Pine, Mill Pond Camping Area #48.
Bald Cypress & Spanish Moss, Big Cypress Bayou River.
Water Hyacinth, Hells Half Acre.
Water Hyacinth, Hells Half Acre.
Spanish Moss, Hells Half Acre.
Consume, Pine Ridge Loop.
Spatterdock, Saw Mill Pond.
Reflecting Bald Cypress, Saw Mill Pond.
The Moon, Mill Pond Camping Area #48.