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HomeNL-2015-12 Lake Charlotte

Post-Halloween Paddle at Lake Charlotte

November 1, 2015
by
Tom Douglas


 
  Lake Charlotte Map

Two major rain events made it necessary to shift the venue for our post-Halloween paddle from the San Bernard River to Lake Charlotte, where we could enjoy the high-water conditions while avoiding treacherous currents. The next-to-last band of rain from the weather system was just clearing as we left Houston, but we caught up with it as we headed out Interstate 10. Knowing that this patch of rain was forecast to move on out in about one more hour, our hardy band of paddlers used that time to introduce themselves and trade stories under the shelter of one of the pavilions at Cedar Hill Park. And what an interesting group it was. We had a person who has purchased many acres of Texas land for protection in national wildlife refuges, a nutritionist, a Master Naturalist, several scout leaders, one person who hitchhiked across Venezuela, and another who spends part of the year living in a remote part of Alaska. When the rain did stop, right on schedule, we wasted no time getting our boats on the water.

Paddling down the eastern side of Lake Charlotte, we visited one of the locations featured in a video that was produced by the Galveston Bay Estuary Program. The USGS gauging station showed a water depth of 11.7 feet, nearly 4 feet higher than what it had been just two weeks before. The usual cut into Mud Lake was difficult to locate, but the flooded cypress forest offered us several different possibilities. Finding that the entrance to Mud Lake Bayou was blocked by a large raft of water hyacinth plants, we paddled up the west side of Mud Lake, and out into the forest for our lunch break. Back in Lake Charlotte, via a forest route to the west of the one that we had used earlier, we took a moment to regain our bearings, and then headed west to Sand Point. Crossing some open water to the north of Sand Point, we found that the ghostly cypresses at Buzzard Roost were still setting a thoroughly spooky Halloween mood. Then, on to what proved to be the best part of the day for some: about a half-hour paddling through the forest just to the west of Lake Charlotte. Even though we didn’t venture very close to Mac Bayou, we could feel that the current flowing in from it was reaching well out into the lake.

     
USGS Gauging Station
Photo by Linda Shead
  Look out for ghosts!
Photo by Linda Shead
  Dark Forest
Photo by David Portz
 


David and duck
Photo by Linda Shead
  Spooky Buzzard Roost
Photo by Tom Douglas


Returning to Cedar Hill Park, we concluded our 5.7-mile outing and loaded up our boats, only to meet up with that one final round of rain during the drive home. Whew! A close call with the rain, and a great day on the water. Kudos to our dauntless group, who stayed with us through Halloween and High Water!



The author, Tom Douglas