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Bayou Fountain — July 17, 2015

2015-07-17

Bayou Fountain — July 17, 2015

Low water, high bridge.

With Bayou Fountain lower than it’s been in quite a while, a spur of the moment run seemed appropriate.  It turned into a bit of a long day.

I hadn’t really planned on paddling Bayou Fountain on Friday, but when I woke up with a free day in front of me, it just seemed a shame not to go.  It seems like it’s been ages since the last time I paddled it at really low water, and with our recent rainy season taking its own vacation, this would surely be different.

It's a log!

As I drive over the bridge on Siegen at Ward Creek on the way to the park, I always look down to the water to check the level.  As goes Ward, so goes Fountain, more or less.  This time around, the water was certainly not over the banks.  In fact, it was so low that mud was showing along the edges of the stream bed.  Boats with skegs or motors were definitely not going to be on Bayou Fountain.

No log.

Arriving at the bank of Bayou Fountain to launch, I quickly confirmed that the water level was quite low.  Getting in would be fun, and pulling the canoe back up after the paddle would be even more so.  (Our friends at BREC are quite nice to us even if we do tend to be a bit “are we there yet?” about a real paddle launch, and they assure me one is coming, if perhaps a bit slowly.)  Passing by the chain gauge showed the water level to be six feet and a couple inches below the bridge.  The lowest we’ve seen is a link from seven feet, even, but six and change definitely qualifies as low.

A bit of a jam.

As I paddled down the bayou, for the most part things were just fine.  We’ve had normal to high water for so long, it felt a bit odd being well below the banks.  Overhanging trees that would normally require a bit of weaving around didn’t even require a bit of ducking, and embedded logs that had disappeared for months now gave gentle thumps as reminders they were still there.

Clear!

And then there were the tree trunks and such.  Trees that had apparently fallen during high water only to remain hidden were now in the way.  The first few I came across were still below the surface (and therefore completely not photogenic), but they were now beginning to collect debris or block progress.  Out came the saw, and away they went, one after the other.

Two for one special.

Every time I came across another, the day stretched longer.  Eventually, I was getting close enough to the end to figure that had to be the last one.  Well, that had to be the last one.  Okay, that pair together (pictured above), surely, that would be the end of it… right?

Two trees, half off.

And then, mere yards from Bayou Manchac, I came upon truly the last one.  And what a tree it was.  A giant water oak right on the south bank had fallen.  At the base, the trunk was far too wide to reach around.  The crown, meanwhile, was filling almost the entire span of the bayou.  Well, if that isn’t a pickle.  With it far too late in the day to get anything serious done, I tunneled through the right side to make it Bayou Manchac, and then I turned around and paddled back.  This was going to take a bit of work…

Oh, my.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    2015-07-21 5:29pm

    A friend with a bateau powered by a gator tail went exploring up Manchac, Wards Creek, Jones Creek, etc. told me about that water oak. I should’ve let you know about it.

    BREC said they will work on the launch after the archery range is relocated.

    • 2015-07-22 2:46pm

      Let us know and ruin the surprise? Okay, yes, spoilers welcome when there are giant trees down.

      As for the launch, we ask our BREC friends about it (and others) every time we see them. No predicted dates yet on the archery range, but we’re guessing it’ll be ready before the CAPP bridge over Ward Creek. (Alas!)

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