Kayaking in my first Louisiana swamp

I did not know it at the time we were driving up to the lake that morning, but soon after I would experience one of the most enjoyable kayaking I have ever done. Although we had the day planned for a bit of kayaking, we both were not really feeling it when we pulled up to Lake Martin. I was only going to do it because Kerri wanted too, since she planned the location and all. When I looked at the lake on Google Maps, I was not all that impressed. But, I was willing to make the sacrifice for love.

The boat launch was crowded with fisherman and a swamp-tour crowd. I didn’t feel that peaceful kayaking was going to be taking place. To avoid the crowd, we drove down a muddy dirt road that leads to the north tip of the lake. Here we could put in under much less duress.

Lake Martin is not a large lake; only 4 miles or so of shoreline to navigate around the entire thing. Lucky for us, only the very center of it is lake-like, with the outer ring being typical Louisiana swamp so easily found in any picture of this area. It wasn’t super early, but the sun had not broken through the morning cloudiness. The temperature was perfect as we pushed off into the green water. Immediately we were engulfed by the swamp. Birds called out from all directions. Turtles splashed into the water as we approached. It was akin to a Disney ride… just so surreal.

The vegetation was so thick just under the water that my rudder had to be raised. That didn’t keep me from exploring, as best I could, into and between the large swamp trees, under mossy limbs, and into some of the hunting blinds positioned around the lake. We paddled the entire circumference of the lake, and no real speed at all. Just a slow methodical paddle so we could take in all the sights and sounds; of which consisted of countless birds including three Blue Heron, two Great Egret, six alligators (all were quite friendly), two red-headed woodpeckers, dozens of cormorants, and turtles, and even a few good sized snakes basking in the sun once it eventually popped out.

The only real down side of the day was that I did not bring my DSLR camera. With only the iPhone camera to snap images, anything further away then just a few feet become invisible to the super-wide-angle-lens. While I snapped many a photo of the turtle, gators, and birds, 90% turned out to be just a speck in a sea of swamp in the photo. The zoom lens on my DSLR would have gone a long way on this day.

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5 Responses

  1. Vanholio! says:

    See, you lost me at “alligators.” I went to the Okefenokee a few years ago. I intended to rent a kayak or canoe. But my first evening there, I went for a walk along a dyke and saw a dozen or more HUGE gators sunning themselves. That ended that plan quick.

    • Van-Tramp says:

      Na, the gators were not a problem at all. One of them was swimming along and stopped so we could cross his path, then continued on without any complaining. I didn’t try poking any with my finger of course. The few that we saw were all just hanging out and wanted nothing to do with us.

  2. Too cool to be true. Added to my to do list.

  3. Found you through Campendium. Glad you had a good experience in my backyard, the swamps of Louisiana. We love it here, but are hitting the road soon, as soon as our house is sold; enjoying your posts. If you ever need information on visiting South Louisiana, let us know.

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