Thursday, May 14, 2015

Paddled in Louisiana Again


I stopped at Fairview-Riverside State Park to check about kayaking and camping there.  I could not afford their rates, which were different then what was posted on the website. They do give a discount for the America Access Pass, but only for 3 states.   I was told I could use the Park for the day and kayak free since I was over 62, but I could not use the boat ramp, it was for their Premium Guests.  I would have to launch from an area near the historic Otis House.


Walking past the Otis House Museum, I took some photos of the Spanish Moss on things, and the cypress trees. The house was closed for tours due to budget cuts. I spotted some historic artifacts on the ground, glazed pottery, ceramics, blue glass, a button. I left them in place as one should. I can see where there was glamour in this lifestyle for W.T. Jay in the 1880s. He was an importer of mahogany... and had a large sawmill here.

From their website: 
Otis House
When you enter the park, you will notice a large home facing the water. This is Otis House, originally built in the 1880s as the family home for sawmill owner William Theodore Jay. It was later purchased and renovated in the 1930s by Frank Otis, serving as his summer home until his death in 1962. Mr. Otis left the property to the State of Louisiana to be developed into a recreational site for visitors. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

The Otis House Museum is normally open for tours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Museum admission is $4 per adult. Children (12 and under) and seniors (62 and over) are admitted free. Call 985-792-4652 for group tour information.


The large Live Oaks fascinated me… really magnificent.  Also the Cypress knees growing up around the base of the tree are really interesting.



So I checked out the spot where they said I could put in, near the old historic house, but I would have had to walk out into dark water and mud to launch the boat, so I decided not to  paddle there. 
But while checking it out, I found this interesting snake, so went back up to the Office to ask about it, and identify it.

On the way I got to see the Steam engine that used to power the old saw mill.



… and in departing I also almost stepped on this... I think a crawdad hole?

A friend of mine said:  “When our yard gets saturated with rain, we have those. People actually take those and let them dry off, spray them with a Poly coating, decorate them with artificial crawfish and call them crawfish condos. Sold for $12-$14 in Louisiana. I can save some for you to pick up on way back through if you like.”

Well, that is different, but I think I will pass.

OK, I went back in the front office for Fairview Park to ask about the snake. Struck up a conversation with the Park Manager about snakes and how it would be nice to have photos in the office there of the local wildlife. I emailed him the photos of the snake and went back in and we talked about it. He thinks it is a Texas Rat Snake. We talked about kayaking... and he told me to go ahead and use the boat ramp. I did.


While prepared to launch I met two more park residents, a small wee little snake and a toad you can barely see against the concrete ramp.



The cool, crystal-clear waters of the Tchefuncte River yield bass, bluegill, white perch, and bream near the park area, and channel catfish, speckled trout and redfish where the river meets the lake. Freshwater fishing from the river bank or a boat offers unmatched delights for even the most casual fisherman. Crabbing in the lake and the river is also popular.

I learned from their website later that just two miles away by road and a few minutes by water is the Madisonville public boat launch. Many visitors use the launch for access to the calm waters of the Tchefuncte River or the exhilarating expanse of Lake Pontchartrain.  I could have gone there.  Maybe next time.

Once again, I was in my element, out on the water.  It was been way too long since my last paddle.  As I began paddling, I found these four water lilies, and no more for the entire rest of the paddle.



Yes, I am happiest when I am on the water.   I paddled in and out of the Cypress Knees.

Kicked back and relaxed.

… waved to passing boats…

…saw a flying White Egret land in the top of this tree,

… saw a turtle feeding on this 1/2 of a dead catfish…
… and saw several uprooted trees, probably from the big storms they have in this area.
I love the snarly old roots and trees.  Saw a squirrel.
Saw only three other kayakers.
I kayaked about 3-4 hours... all the way around the little fingerlet / peninsula the Park is on... to this place... a huge mansion:!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0...
What is that?  I guess it is one great big house with one really ugly swimming pool.  These statues are around a swimming pool which you can see in the above Goggle map.
I liked this little place about three houses away from the Mansion, much much better.  Look, they have a boat taller than their house.  How cool is that?
Geez. I enjoyed the wildlife a lot more.
I really enjoyed the paddle here at Fairview-Riverside State Park.  Thank you Park Manager, Steven.
My earlier paddle in Louisiana:
47th State: Louisiana (Oct. 25, 2012)   An unnamed Lake on Chef Menteur Highway, (Rt.90).

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Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.