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HomeNL-2012-03 Old Riv Lake Char

A Paddling Weekend
Old River & Lake Charlotte

Feb. 11-12, 2012

by Paul Woodcock

Old River

It was a cold Saturday morning but Cindy & John, Ron, Dana, Mary and I showed up with our canoes. John and Tricia arrived with their kayaks.  This is the first trip I can remember for years where we had more canoes than kayaks. I had picked out a place for lunch that Joe and David had used on a previous trip.  Mary and I saw a baby owl peeking out of a hole in a tree and John & Cindy Identified a number of birds.  I enjoy paddling with them as they share their extensive knowledge of birds and I learn something every trip.  We also saw deer and a coyote so it turned into a wildlife sighting trip.  When  we reached the cutoff we saw the heavy flow of current and started paddling upstream.  I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to get to the lunch spot I had picked and as I have never paddled upstream from the 1409 bridge we turned around and started back. As we drifted with the current I found a place to get out and take a break.  On the way back to the put-in we took a couple of side trips through the cypress trees.   When we got to the put-in Cindy and John decided to leave and Mary, Dana, Ron and I ate lunch.  We got to talking and decided to stay there while John and Tricia paddled upstream.  When they got back they said they had encountered a housing development and a golf course. We did not follow my flight plan, but who cares, it was a pleasant paddle.


 More canoes
   Old River     Dana on side trip

Lake Charlotte


The next day it was a cold morning in the 30's.  When Mary and I arrived at lake Charlotte, Honey was already there watching the Boy Scouts pack up their tents.  Cassidy arrived shortly.  All the other participants had called and canceled the night before. We paddled to Mac Bayou and Mary who has not paddled this section in a while commented on the size of the island.  We can remember when it did not exist at all.  Because the water was so high we spent most of the time paddling through the trees.  We found ourselves making giant circles through the trees as you eventually came to a spot where you could no longer make forward progress.  We found a very large block of styrofoam, duck blinds, and were in locations I have never paddled before.  When we got back to Cedar Hill Park, Cassidy, Mary and I had grilled hotdogs.  It was my first experience with vegetarian hot dogs and I am glad that I can still eat regular hot dogs with all their fat and waste meat products.  After lunch, Cassidy and I hiked down to the dock overlooking the lake. There is a twisted old cedar tree that really touchs my soul.  Everyone should take the time to take this short hike - it is a beautiful place with all the Spanish moss hanging from the trees.  It was a cold day, but the paddlers warmed my heart.


 Boy Scouts packing

 Bundled up

for the cold


 In the trees

The earth is my mother.
the sky is my father
the animals are my brothers
the canoe lets me get closer to them


 The author, Paul Woodcock