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Bayou Fountain/Manchac fun paddle — August 29, 2015

2015-08-29

Bayou Fountain/Manchac fun paddle — August 29, 2015

Alligator

It’s always a great time for a trip down Bayou Fountain and Bayou Manchac.  This time, the water was down but the bridge count was up.

After a quick stop at Manchac Park to set an exit line and a small PaddleBR sign, we headed back to Highland Road Park to unload and perform boatsitting duties.  Things started a bit slow, but soon enough they started to pick up.  Our usual shuttle plan went a bit pear-shaped for a bit, but if there’s one thing you learn over a few years of paddle trail work, it’s rolling with what comes.  We changed things around just a bit and sent an extra car to stage for shuttling, and then we were off.

Rather low water.

The first thing you noticed at the bank of the bayou was the rather low water level.  It was over six feet below the bridge marker, and the embedded logs and debris in front of Archery Launch made that abundantly clear.  Still, even when the bayou’s low, it’s perfectly good to paddle (a paddleboard skeg would be more anchor than fin, but we were in canoes and kayaks).  And so, on we went.

On the bayou.

The bayous generally don’t have very strong currents, but this time there was practically no current at all.  When there’s a good current behind you, you can paddle the entire run with practically nothing but a bit of steering.  We had to actually do all the moving forward under our own power.  It wasn’t bad, really, as the day was not too, too hot and the shade was wonderful.  Also, I brought a spare kayak paddle for one of our canoe guests who normally kayaks.  (We’re have no strong single- vs. double-ended paddle bias at PaddleBR.)

New private bridge.

With everyone taking it easy on the paddle, David in his light and sporty canoe was out in front pretty much the entire trip, which meant that he came across a small blockage or two that had caught during the week.  He dispatched each without difficulty, and we only found out there had been anything there when he mentioned it afterward.  With him taking care of any small issues before we even got there, we made it to Bayou Manchac with nary a delay, and after the traditional float break at the confluence, we headed on down (still with virtually no current).

New bridge, looking upstream.

The new private bridge over Bayou Manchac that we’d seen footings for last trip was now in place.  We were quite happy to see that the ends are inclined, making the center height above the water seem rather higher than the current Perkins Road bridge (which has been a paddle limbo event for us once or twice).  Oh, and not too long after that, we saw the alligator in the photo at the top (and another larger but faster-departing one later).  Always love getting a glimpse of Louisiana proper.

Macaroni!

Somewhere along Manchac, Mike had found a feather and gone all macaroni, but we made it to Manchac Park just fine.  With the water as low as it was, the exit was actually a bit easier than normal.  There was somewhat firm mud to stand on (and we’d brought a bag of grass clippings collected from the field at Highland Road Park to reduce slippage — it’s a service).  After a quick shuttle back to the park, we called it a day.  We can hardly wait until we have real paddle launches at both ends, but for now, it’s a great run already.

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