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HomeNL-2015-11 Champion Lake

Champion Lake Revisited
Sept. 26, 2015
by
Natalie Wiest


Saturday, September 26, 2015, five intrepid Canoe Club members set out on Champion Lake. I facilitated this trip, not without concern on my part that I would manage to get us all lost out there in the swamp. However, I am pleased to report that the map that I had somewhat disparaged on my previous trip report on Champion, is in practice quite accurate. The map is at:

www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/map-hunt-ChampionLakeDuck2013_508.pdf 

 
 
I printed it out and had it enlarged to 11x17 size, and laminated at my local print shop. That and my trusty compass provided navigation. Of note for those that easily get lost, do carry that compass and keep heading due south until you run into the shoreline, then hang a left turn and eventually you get back to the boat ramp.

Kent Walter, Craig Walker, and David Portz set out with Ellen and me for the 7 mile paddle.

We started along the dam face, then north and west along Caney Creek to the number 7 area, back to number 4; west to number 12 to eat our lunch (had to stay in the boats, however, no dry ground to get out). Returned east to the route through number 9 which we barely made (level that day, about 5.5 feet on the gage, the absolute minimum here), and along that south shore.
 
 
Through the thickets of shrubs, presumably stripped bare by flooding in early summer.
 
 

And through the cypress swamp.

 
 
The thrill of the day (besides not getting lost) was great views of a large number of wood storks. I have rarely seen these birds in the past and at one time we counted over 20. I wasn’t able to get a good photo with my camera, but my friend Marilyn Kircus went paddling there a week or so later and got this great shot:
 
 

These birds are about the size of a wild turkey.  You can see their very distinct profile, and the black and white pattern on their wings when seen from below. 

 
It was another beautiful summery day on the water, wish you could have been there too.

Natalie Wiest
Houston Canoe Club


The author, Natalie Wiest