From Lake Charles, at first, driving south is all about farms. Farmland, farm animals, farmers, fields. Then it quickly becomes all water and marsh grass. We drove through Big Lake, Grand Lake, Sweet Lake; places I've heard of but hadn't yet seen. They're small towns; schools, churches, farms. The requisite Dollar General.
This is a scene in Big Lake. Beach houses are so colorful.
Then we hopped on the Creole Nature Trail and headed south. This visitors' center is relatively new, and I've been wanting to check it out. I've heard it's nice. The sign said it closes at 3:00 on Fridays. We got there no later than 2:55. I think they left early today.
Cameron is not only the name of this parish, but also a small town. A very small rural coastal town that was basically wiped off the map in 2005 after Hurricane Rita. They've slowly been rebuilding. Hurricane Ike in 2008 didn't help any.
We found some fishermen on a pier. I'm not sure which was more impressive; the fish or this guy's sunburn. Yikes! (photo used with permission)
We saw lots of shrimp boats today. Fishing has not been restricted due to the BP oil spill on this side of the state. Some fish boats trolled. Hard to see it in these photos, but I think shrimp boats look like giant birds, with their nets fanned out and unfurled to the sides.
Others rested. We bought three pounds of shrimp here right off the dock. Doesn't get any fresher than that.
After Cameron, we rode the ferry over to Holly Beach. The Gulf was it's usual muddy self -- that's normal -- but fortunately there's no sign of oil here on the western edge of the state. Not yet. As you can see, I kicked off my flip flops and put my toes in the surf
Lots of pretty shells on Holly Beach.
From Holly Beach we head back north along the western edge of the Creole Nature Trail. The Sabine Wildlife Refuge is a beautiful place to bird watch, look for alligators, and feed mosquitos. I saw some nutria there once, too.
Bob and I walked out onto a marsh overlook. This guy knows the routine. When the alligator saw us, he immediately swam up and stared with those pleading eyes, begging like a dog.
We stopped in Hackberry for ice cream. First at the Exxon station, which advertised "ice cream cones," but their machine was being repaired. They kindly directed us to Brown's Grocery, where the self-serve soft serve machine sat next to the cappuccino machine. Chocolate or vanilla? I had a little of each. Bob held out for Winkydoo's Malt Shop in Sulphur just a ways up the road. I told him it would be closed in the evening. And it was.