Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Canoes and Pontoons

This morning we rented a canoe here in the park and paddled around Caddo Lake.
Caddo Lake covers a 32,700 acre maze of channels, meandering bayous, and sloughs within thousands of acres of Baldcypress trees.

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

Making our way through the cove to the main channel

Mark is a very good navagator!

Out in the main channel

Many beautiful aquatic plants are in and on the surface of the water.

Spatterdock (Nuphar luteum)

Some of the birds didn’t recognize us as human so we were able to get very close. I guess we look like a large floating log!

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

After our canoe trip we drove into the little town of Jefferson for lunch. Situated on Big Cypress Bayou, Jefferson early became a riverport town, and, in fact, has been described as the "Riverport to the Southwest." The boats came up the Mississippi River into the Red River, through Caddo Lake, and up Big Cypress to what was known as the "Turning Basin" where the stern-wheelers loaded and unloaded cargo. One of the early settlers of Jefferson was Captain William Perry, owner/builder of the world famous Excelsior Hotel, who arrived with the first stern-wheeler in 1844.

Then we headed to Uncertain to take a pontoon boat trip. We wanted to go on the Graceful Ghost Steamboat but the winds were too strong so we had a pontoon boat ride instead. Our captain (Ron) was very entertaining and knowledgeable about the history of Caddo Lake, Uncertain, and Jefferson. It was a very enjoyable 1 1/2 hours.

The Graceful Ghost Steamboat. The only remaining wood-fired operating steamboat in the US.

Government Ditch. A channel dredged for steamboats that supposedly cut 2 days off the trip from Shreveport, LA to Jefferson, TX.

River Cooter

10' Alligator


  1. The canoe trip looks like fun. Almost looks like you were in the swamps of Louisiana to me (from movies and pictures I've seen).

    That Blue Herons is quite blue, and I always thought they were more grey-blue. Don't know why. But it's blue, not a bit of grey at all!

    Why are there no blue flowers, but so many blue birds?

  2. Hi Julee-

    Caddo Lake actually straddles the Texas/Louisiana Border, and so we kind of were in the swamps of Louisiana. In fact, most Louisiana "swamp" movies were filmed in Caddo Lake on the Texas side. There is better access there.

    That Heron is in full breeding color, so really is quite blue. They normally are more blue/gray.