Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chicot State Park

I had wanted to go to Chicot State Park ever since a friend of mine raved about it a couple years ago. So when my paddling club planned a trip there yesterday, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t see the whole park, but from what I did see, namely a camping area, the boat launch, and several trail heads, it is indeed lovely. The park is home to the Louisiana State Arboretum. There are also cabins and a swimming pool. It’s north of Crowley, east a bit of Pine Prairie, mostly in the middle of nowhere.

Something unique about Chicot, from a paddler’s perspective, is their canoe trail. Unlike a hiking trail through the woods, a canoe trail has no beaten path. You just follow the signs, paddling from one sign to the next.

The lily pads and duck weed grew so thick in some places of this swamp, we struggled to get through it. But the flowers are beautiful.

We meandered slowly, taking it all in. Cypress and tupelo gum trees provided cooling shade and protection from the sun.

We saw several blue herons and oodles of dragonflies. Oddly, we saw no turtles. We saw no alligators or snakes. And surprisingly, no mosquitoes. The greatest threat to a paddler is this . . .

Wasps. And we saw lots of them. Their nests hang from low tree branches. If you touch them, or accidentally knock them with your paddle, they’ll attack. Your only hope is to retreat beneath the water and hide under the boat until they lose interest. I hope I never witness or experience this first hand.

I wonder what happened to this luna moth’s right tail wing?

These roots of a cypress tree are called knees.

I’ve been kayaking a year now, and this was my most enjoyable paddle thus far. Louisiana has so many beautiful places. I look forward to my next visit to Chicot State Park. Have you been there? What were your impressions and experiences?


Common Household Mom said...

Angie, I love the new blog title!

That park looks other-worldly.

Jody said...

Nice article! I'd love to try kayaking out there. Everything down south is choked out with vegetation this year due to the mild winter we had.

That lotus pod in your picture is known around south Louisiana as a "graine a voler" or the seeds simply referred to as "cajun peanuts". I picked a few last year, but managed to get mostly rotten ones. I'm planning on going out soon to get more to attempt to boil some or even see if I can make something akin to peanut butter or hummus. I really have no idea. I've only heard of them being boiled and salted.

Here's a Times Picayune article on them.

Angie said...

Jody, thank you so much for that information. I did read the article. I wish I had known about these seeds prior to my trip. I could have filled the boat with them!

Jan Rider Newman said...

Good new blog title. I went to Chicot Park more years ago than I care to remember, so revisiting it would be like seeing it for the first time. Great pictures.

Anonymous said...

What a great way to spend the day. Nice the skeeters left you alone. -- Steve S.

Jody said...

Have I posted that before?
I bet I have. I'm forgetful sometimes. Oh well! Still cool info and your pics have inspired me to go here!

Luke said...

I am just stumbling on this delightful post, Angie. I thought that canoe trail was beautiful as well. At one point I sat in my canoe in the middle of those towering trees. The canopy was high over head and a clear view all around. The air was still and the wood quiet. I felt as though I sat in the cathedral of the Almighty. Thanks for this post.

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Luke, no doubt you were indeed in the presence of the Almighty. We said the same thing when we were there. The feeling of being in that place is so reverent. Someone in our group said, "It's like being in church." And another paddler chimed in, "It is church!"