Sunday, November 5, 2017

Kayaking at Martin Dies Jr. State Park

Martin Dies Jr. State Park rents both canoes and kayaks, and one perk of being a volunteer is that we can use them free of charge.

Teri and I grabbed a pair of kayaks on our first day off and explored the Walnut Paddling Trail. This is one of four paddling trails in the park, and goes all of the way around the island where our campground is located. The map shows it as a 2.7 mile trail, but we traveled a little over 3 miles as we meandered around a bit.

The kayaks are smallish sit-on-top models. We've paddled in a number of different types of kayaks, and enjoy sit on tops when the water and weather are warm. They can get a little damp, which makes them less desirable in colder conditions. The picture above shows the launching area. The first order of business was to paddle out beneath the observation bridge. That area of the lake is shallow and weedy, so it took a little searching to find a clear way out. 

Out beyond the bridge the water was calm and clear. For the most part we stayed close to the shoreline, where huge trees overhang the water. 

We saw a few ducks and wading birds, including this Great Egret. 

There are many different species of trees in this park, but the Bald Cypress and Southern Magnolia seem to dominate the shorelines. 

It is interesting to weave in and out of the cypress roots. They make such an interesting habitat. 

At one point we could see our truck and trailer through the trees on the shoreline. 

About 2/3 of the way around the trail we entered a slough (channel) that took us back toward the launch point. This area was different than the open water we'd been on. 

Near the takeout we had to cross under the small bridge that accesses the island. 

We plan to try each of the paddling trails here in the park. Hopefully they are as enjoyable as the Walnut Paddling Trail!



  1. Nice perk! Looks like a place that would have lots of snakes....

    1. Definitely some snakes in the area. We played a nearby disc golf course that had about a dozen "beware of snakes" signs!

  2. That looks like a lot of fun times ahead.

  3. We hope so. It is incredibly warm and humid here right now, so we're looking forward to some cooler air soon!