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Weekend at Chicot State Park

This past weekend, I spent a couple days (only one was a full day) at Chicot State Park with a few friends of mine. We scheduled the weekend back during the month of July in hopes that we would be able to schedule around it. It worked out pretty well as the four of us were able to make it. These days, that’s an amazing feat. So many other things come up.

The park is pretty nice. It’s an older park, but it is maintained moderately well. I thought the eight person cabin was very nice and spacious. It was just around a hill from a nice pier that jutted out into the lake. Due to a rough nights sleep (snoring friends perhaps), I was up early for a morning run. I put in five of my ten miles running up to the north part of the lake. Really beautiful scenery and plenty of wildlife. I passed no fewer than ten deer and probably closer to fifteen. Only a couple bucks and they were mostly on the small side. It could be a much nicer park if they would put a little money into repairing some of the facilities that have fallen into disuse. I didn’t get to visit the arboretum though.

I brought my kayaks though and spent a couple hours out on the lake investigating the opposite shore. Amazing place. So many trees that are out in the lake. The water was a little low, but it didn’t affect the kayaking. There were lots of waterfowl out. The turtles and even a few alligators were enjoying the sun from their cozy perch on the logs. It was nice to have Todd join me about half way through the excursion. We paddled around to find a nice stand of cypress trees.

Of course, these “get together”s would not be complete without some amazing meals prepared by David. Rarely does anyone eat so well on a camping trip. Jeff and David also provided the entertainment with some fine singing and guitar playing. Good stuff. We also managed some Bible trivia, spiritual discussions and prayer time. It was a great time spent with some great friends.

Spring Basin Trip

The weather has really been phenomenal the past few days. We were able to enjoy it this weekend with Connie’s sister and her husband. The ladies worked most of the day in the flower bed replacing some of the mature bushes that we removed last week. Since Connie has a brown thumb, we did the planting of the new plants using Tammy’s green thumb. My brother-in-law and I pitched in as well after we had returned and recovered from our trip to the Atchafalaya Basin.

CAS and I had the privilege of spending a few hours paddling around the western edge of the Atchafalaya Basin in my Ride 115 kayaks. I put in a little further south (at the Atchafalaya Basin Landing and Marina) so we didn’t have as much paddling to do to get to Lake Henderson. It was probably the ideal weather situation for such a trip as the temperature was pleasant, there was a nice breeze and air was crisp and dry (very unlike Louisiana). We left the fishing tackle at home and brought only our cameras. This was strictly for photography and the enjoyment of nature. I was impressed that he felt confident enough to bring his DSLR where as I went with only my Lumia 920. I really need to bring my Canon T2i one of the days. Since I wasn’t the only one with a camera (which is normally the case), I got a few pictures taken of me in my kayak which was nice since I could document my participation (and note my “ranger Joe” appearance).

We didn’t come across any alligators that I noticed. We did see quite a few egrets, herons, turtles, gar fish and ducks (I believe they were mottled ducks). We were a little far from solid ground to see them as they stay close to shore. With the thick covering of water lilies, it was difficult to navigate up in the most dense parts of the swamp, but we did try to get in as close as possible. The only real downside was the sound of the air boats. The tours are taking place throughout the day. Looking at the GPS data in my phone photos, it looks like we covered a decent amount of area. Perhaps next time we can be even more ambitious.

What a fantastic trip and what a great weekend to share with family. I’m thankful that they made the trip over.