Skip to content

Moonless Paddle to Spanish Lake — July 11, 2015


Moonless Paddle to Spanish Lake — July 11, 2015

Hazy and red on Spanish Lake.

Night paddles on moonless nights with clear, starry skies are always an experience.  Add on to that getting to paddle to places that are closed to the public, and it’s a recipe for a great night.

Paddling out to Spanish Lake (when there’s sufficient water) is a great way to get the full Louisiana wetlands experience.  Unfortunately, we know of no public access to launch and paddle there.  Fortunately, we value building good relationships with local landowners, and so, on occasion we get special access permission to do paddle trips.  For this trip out to Spanish Lake via Bayou Braud, we were graciously given permission to launch from quite a convenient spot.

Ready to launch.

I arrived early and set out the PaddleBR signs to direct everyone to the launch site.  The signs worked well, and this time around nobody got lost (that we know of).  While I had a few moments, I quickly dropped a canoe in the water and took care of several logs which were blocking the way just past the launch point.  May as well start with a clear path, eh?  Soon everyone was arriving, some with their own kayaks, and others using our boats.  With everything in order, we made the customary somewhat muddy launch.

On Bayou Braud

Bayou paddling is quite relaxing.  With virtually no current and no wind to speak of, there is nothing to work against as you move along.  Avoiding trees and banks tends to be a bit interesting around the start for anyone not too used to paddling, but there’s plenty of time to relax into the hang of it (and a bit of percussive steering doesn’t hurt anything).  Oh, and as dusk starts to settle in, the noises start building.

The water was perhaps a foot lower than when we did the moonlight paddle a while back.  Still plenty of water to paddle without hitting much, although there were some submerged logs and shallows here and there.  There was also one fallen tree — the same one as we encountered last time.  With the water lower, the cutting we’d done last time was no longer sufficient.

I remember you, Mr. Tree.

Just like last time, we all squeezed by through the trees on the left side, although it was a rather tighter squeeze than last time.  Of course, being PaddleBR, we’re quite used to cutting up problem trees, and I certainly did not head out on the night paddle without my trusty saw.  With most everyone going on ahead, Rachel and I paused for a quick clearing job so the way would be open for the return trip well after dark.

The rest of the way was clear, and it was quite dark by the time we arrived on Spanish Lake.  With no moon and clear, starry skies, the night was about as dimly lit as we’ve seen.  It would’ve been the perfect setting for watching a meteor shower or just skywatching.  (It’s much brighter if there’s an overcast reflecting the city and industrial lights, and with a full moon, it almost feels like daylight out there.)  We floated a bit, with conversation and snacks in equal measure, and then we headed back.

Red light special.

The local alligators were out and about during the trip back, and at one point we were practically paddling a second line for several minutes following a couple.  The now abbreviated fallen tree was quite a bit more convenient to pass, as expected.  (We were in the lead and went to ramming speed, just in case, but we hit nothing too substantial.)  By 11pm or so, we were back on dry land, loading up, and heading home.  I can hardly wait for the next trip, and thanks again to the landowners for again giving us special permission to launch.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: