Saturday, September 26, 2015

Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake is a lake and wetland on the border between Texas and Louisiana, in northeastern Texas and western Caddo Parish in Louisiana. The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo. It features the largest cypress forest in the world. Caddo is Texas's only natural lake and is the 2nd largest in the South; however, it was artificially altered by the addition of a dam in the 1900s.
Caddo Lake
We visited Caddo lake area three times, each time we went to Caddo Lake State Park, which is located at the southwestern corner of the big lake - the green area in the above map. The park is in fact connected to the lake via a bayou. The cypress trees are the main draw. The main activities at the park include camping, hiking, canoeing, birding and star gazing at night. Kayaking on the big lake should be great but will most likely require a guide. Boat tour on the big lake should be fun as well.

The first two times we visited there were in November some eight and ten years ago. The third time was during the labor day weekend this summer. The different seasons provide totally different sense of the lake.

During the first two trips, we had a sunny morning and drizzling afternoon at Caddo Lake and thus got a chance to see the two faces of the lake! The clear water, the  crisp air, ghostly cypress trees with Spanish mosses in the morning, and the misty water in the afternoon. The most exciting thing happened to Nicholas was that a frog jumped onto his paddle when we were canoeing in the bayou.

Mill Pond at Caddo Lake State Park
Less Colors but more ghostly
A frog jumped on little Nicholas's paddle
Grand egrets in Misty Swamp 

During the labor day weekend, we camped inside the park near the mill pond with three other families. The humidity was very high during the day time, the air was still, which made it felt very hot even though the temperature was at low 90sF. We sweated profusely on the hiking trails. The famed steam boat ride was a bust - we did not know that the boat ride changed its route from that in the big lake to the bayou. If we knew this ahead of time, we would have not taken the ride. Because of this disappointment, we went to Uncertain - the town by the lake before we left for home - to get a glimpse of the big lake. The plan to rent a motor boat to tour the lake on our own was not realized.

But it was sunny with blue sky and white clouds, the cypress trees were green, the lake surface was mirror like.  It was beautiful! It was wonderful to canoe around Mill Pond. The temperature dropped quickly at night  which made sleep through the night not a problem. The night was pitch black - the stars were bright and "large" - it felt like that the heaven was closer in this wilderness.

Mill pond at Caddo Lake

On the hiking trail

Canoeing by the big cypress trees gave us a different feel


Reaching up

Purple Fruit

A Lotus pond by the big lake

Caddo Lake

Swamp at Caddo Lake

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