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HomeNL-2014-11 Old River

Old River to the Cut Off to Lost Lake then Lost River and Hugo Point
Oct. 19th, 2014
by Dave Kitson

Joe and I have been wanting to do this trip for some time but for a number of reasons, most notably that it is a long trip of at least 11.5 miles and about half of it is in open water that has to be paddled against the prevailing wind, we have been waiting for the right day. Final Sunday Nov. 19th looked good. It was a strong group, Natalie Weist in a sea kayak, Bruce Bodson, Will Blumentritt, Joe Coker and myself. The weather was cool and the winds were predicted to be mild from the East so we decided to give it a try.

The planned trip was to put in at FM 1409 and Old River, then paddle downstream to the Cut Off, take a left and continue down to the little stream that connects the Cut Off to the top of Lost Lake. I thought we could stop for lunch along this stream then continue to the top of Lost Lake. From there we would either travel down the west side of the lake and try to get thru the swampy area to Old River or paddle down the east side to Lost River then down to I-10 and on to Hugo Point. We did the shuttle to Hugo Point and set out about 10 am. None of us had actually done the whole distance down the little stream and we had not really even seen it for a couple of years so we did not know if it could even be paddled.

The trips down Old River and the Cut Off were uneventful until we encountered the “Drug Submarine”. It is a 25’ long by 4’ diameter steel pontoon of unknown purpose that has been slowly making it’s way west along the Cut Off for several years. Each time we see the thing it is further west. One can only guess that it came from a ship of some sort after hurricane Ike. One disappointment is that long before spring, evil has returned to the land; we passed several wasp nests with active wasps. It is a long trip to the stream and in fact I was getting calls of “Are we there yet” from the back of the group well before it appeared but finally there it was, right where expected. The stream is actually much wider then I remember it and it was an easy paddle down to the lake. There were a couple of minor log jams but we paddled around them with no issues. We found no good places to get out for lunch since there were slightly steep banks and mud everywhere so we continued to the lake. As we stuck our bows out onto the lake and looked left there was a huge shell midden; perfect for lunch.

The midden was at least 100 yards long and was thick with shells to a depth of a couple of feet in some places. After lunch, Bruce was wandering around and found several teeth which he later identified as pleistocene long-horned bison.

After lunch we set out down the east side of the lake then left to Lost River. We followed the river under I-10 and headed to Hugo Point. The trip ended up at 12 miles and 5 hours. Joe has loaded his photos to the
website so check them out, here.

The author, Dave Kitson