The Beauty of Caddo Lake
Our goal is to arrive at our next campsite with at least a little sunlight left in the sky. Unfortunately, we arrived in Karnack Texas after dark. The drive was supposedly only 313 miles but for whatever reason, it felt like 500! We were so happy when we pulled into Backwater Jacks RV park which is located right on the bayou! After doing a little research on this area, I reserved a three-seater canoe for us to use the next morning. Alex was a bit worried about the alligators, but I think they can best be compared to the bears of Montana. They do exist but the chances of seeing one is slim and the chances of being attacked by one is even slimmer.
As we started to search for our campsite in the dark, it was as if we had been met by the campground welcoming committee. Folks were coming from all directions in an attempt to keep us on course to help find our spot for the night. Doug, one of our neighbors greeted us with foil wrapped chicken and shrimp! After Alex got us hooked up and situated, he joined Doug by his campfire. One thing led to the next, and Doug became our Caddo Lake tour guide for the next morning.
I had dressed Noah in sweats and a long sleeve shirt for bed that night so he would be as close to “ready to go” as possible when we headed to the lake at 6:15a. Our canoe was waiting for us right next to the boat launch, complete with paddles and life jackets. Not bad for $60!
We left our golden girls back at the RV and decided to take Roo with us. Roo has a problem controlling himself when he hears another dog outside and goes crazy trying to get to the dog. He has already ruined one window screen so whenever possible we try to take him with us. The girls join us on our adventures as well, but they definitely enjoy their chill time in the rig.
Once we got down to the boat launch, Alex and Doug got the canoe in the water. The combination of Roo never being in a canoe before today, and the fact that there are alligators in the lake, had me a little worried. Everything ended up being fine though. Actually, it was beyond fine. It was probably one of the most incredible couple of hours we have ever experienced. There are trails throughout Caddo Lake with markers posted on the Cypress trees. The light of the new dawn was just barely evident in the dark sky as we entered into one of the trails. Doug has been a photographer for over thirty years and has photographed this lake extensively. We were so thankful for his knowledge and guidance. As we canoed through the water, the lake’s residents were waking up and their chatter seemed to be increasing, as did the sun light. We heard all sorts of birds and little critters. Doug pointed out one of the sounds and told us that it was coming from the Pileated Woodpecker. As we creeped through the shadows, the Cypress knees looked as if they were some sort of mystical gnome-like creatures gathering together.
We tried to stay as close as possible to Doug’s kayak. It really didn’t matter how dark it was out there, I’m pretty sure Doug could have kayaked the trail with his eyes closed. It was quite evident that he knew this place like the back of his hand.
As we made our way through the canopy of trees, our eyes and hearts were completely open to this incredible “off the beaten path” adventure. As the trail ended and we turned back around, we saw the rising sun starting to peak through what appeared to be a bayou jungle.
Before we knew it, we had come into a clearing and it was as if God had just painted the giant Cypress trees in gold. It was beyond breathtaking. There are really no words that could describe what we encountered in the middle of Caddo Lake. Even as I type this, it feels like it was all a dream.
We were back at the dock, and reality by 8:15a. We tried to keep things as packed as possible in the RV so we could leave for our next destination as soon as possible. Being that more than one person told us that Jefferson Texas was a must see, and located only 8 miles from the campground, we decided to stroll through there before we headed to West Monroe Louisiana. The town of Jefferson was straight out of a Hallmark Christmas Movie! Noah even got his haircut at a barber shop that has been open for 58 years! After a coffee, chai tea, a frozen lemonade and a haircut, we were ready for Louisiana:)