Category Archives: Canoeing

Canoeing at Otter Lake

Things have been quiet with us not doing much worth reporting. However today we went to Otter lake to go canoeing. Otter Lake is a natural fresh water lake within the Appalachacola National Forest and it is a 6 miles drive from Panacea. Along with Dick and I were our friends Jack Rudloe, Jane Brand and Ed Komarek. Jack and Jane went in one canoe and Ed was in a kayak. It was a pleasant and lovely day with bright sun and a light breeze. It’s still considered winter here and so it was quiet, the trees are still bare and the alligators are sluggish. The locals don’t recommend the lake during warm weather, especially during the alligator mating season but now it’s safe. We did see alligators, with Ed reporting two more than 12 feet long but they didn’t bother us. They immediately fled into deep water and stayed away. They hunt gators for meat and sport here so they are wary of humans.

One of the alligators favorite foods is dog. In fact if you are walking your dog and the dog barks the gators will head over to check it out. Jack has had one dog snatched and eaten by an alligator in this lake and lost another one in another spot not too far away. We left the dogs at home. Fred loves to jump out of the canoe and have a swim so it was not a great place for him.

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Here we have just left the boat launch to start our paddle around the lake.

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The trees are bare though some are beginning to bud like this one showing red pollen flowers.

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The nest of the osprey did not hold any young because it is the wrong time of year but the ospreys were flying around overhead.

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This large tree serves as a turkey vulture and a black vulture roost. The two species hang out together. These are ugly birds up close but a pleasure to watch as they fly.

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Staying near the shore means we can avoid the breeze and see the birds up close.

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We saw a large flock of at least 12 snowy white egrets.

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The egrets included brown juveniles staying close to the adults. Two alligators patrolled nearby as egrets make fine alligator food. The alligators fled when we got close.

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This was an especially large cypress.

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Dick found the bended cypress knees from times when the water is deeper particularly fascinating.

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About an hour of leisurely paddling later, we pulled back into the launch area. A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Southern Illinois

We left Champaign Illinois and traveled south to Memphis. It was seven hours of driving so we decided to break it up with a stop in the Horseshoe Lake Conservation area.

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This is our lovely stop in the Western Campground of the Conservation area. Hunting season is in full swing and we have groups of hunters with us in the campground.

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We have caught up to fall again. The trees looked lovely.

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Normally we would really hesitate about taking our canoe into a cypress swamp due to alligators and snakes but this far north we weren’t concerned so we took a little canoe ride to see the swamp up close.

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Cypress knees are fascinating. These are used to get oxygen to the roots.

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Packing up to continue our journey.

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Construction on the road beside the levee. This area floods due to the mighty Mississippi

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Over the levee. One of the hunters in the campground was playing the very appropriate Led Zeplin song “When the levee breaks” so the song was in my head as we crossed.

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Over the Mississippi river and into Missouri.