Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trails, Cutters Loop

All of us were filled with the joy of the day, as we pointed out to each other flocks of roseate spoonbills. Their brilliant pink breeding plumage contrasted with the grey sky as they flew back and forth, took off and landed. The ladies shouted with glee, like the little girls still inside, and pointed out each flock to one another. Valarie directed our gaze to a tri-colored heron wading in search of it's lunch. Our new friend Rosie joked as we paddled from marker to marker, what a day.....
We had wanted to canoe/investigate the Light House Trails for some time. Every trip across the ferry took us right past the put in point for the trails. Our friend Sharon had mailed us her paddling trails map and we had been waiting for a day with little or no wind.
Finally, a day arrived with a forecast of winds under ten miles per hour, and so we met Rosie and Val at the put in spot, slightly east of Aransas Pass. The wind was barely rippling the water as we crossed the shipping channel and entered the back bay swamps.
We paddled easily across the first lighthouse lake, past a couple of other kayakers fishing from their craft. Empty duck blinds, a commonplace Texas sight, stood around the lake as we turned west and entered a narrow channel. The water had shallowed as soon as we crossed the channel and I had to get out and push the canoe past a spot before it deepened.
The narrow pass was just big enough for us to glide through, the stabilizers almost snagging the brush on each side. Renita kept us straight and in the center as it finally widened a bit. Ibis were wading along as if to mark the trail.
Spotting the next marker, I looked at the aerial photo and we headed northeast across Lighthouse lake number one. We almost missed the next marker, floating past a point but caught ourselves in time and rowed a little to the north where the sign came into view. The aerial photo map was the only way to go when threading through the the trails maze.
Having to wade again, we went through another narrow pass and into another lake. Val and Rosie didn't have any problems, it seemed that it was my end of the canoe that got hung up. Hmmmmm, I wonder why? I raised the stabilizers as they were plowing a bit and the water was too shallow to be a danger. We were both hot and took off our life jackets.
The wind died and the water became like glass, as we entered Lighthouse lake Number Three. Ahead, the lighthouse stood, as if guarding the intercoastal. A large ship passed on the other side, carrying oil to some refinery.
Thousands of pintail ducks rose into the sky beating the water with their wings. We hadn't seen anyone else since entering the first lake. If it hadn't been for the distant hum of traffic it would have seemed like we were all alone, exploring the wild Texas coast.
Stopping for lunch, at an unnamed island we took our bearings and were surprised that we had canoed four miles. I talked Val and Rosie into posing for pictures. Val mentioned that a cold front was supposed to pass us later that afternoon,(The weather forecasting here is extremely accurate compared to out west and the fronts arrive almost like they are on a train schedule).
Floating through another small pass we saw redfish tailing. I cast as Renita played guide, but quickly got hung up on oyster shells. No redfish bothered my jig and plastic bait, but I had seen redfish tailing. Canoeing across the lake we met a fly fisherman who said he had caught one red, but he said it with a contentment as he recast his offering.
Val and Rosie led the way as we canoed back into the shipping channel and to our trucks. We were all tired and sore from the five mile trail, called Cutters Loop.
It had been a cloudy day with no wind, a perfect day to be on the water. Renita and I were both happy to have set a new record for our distance, five miles! We loaded up and talked with some other kayakers who said that we must be in great shape to have traveled so far. If they only knew. A perfect day filled with wonder, beauty, and shared times. Clear skies.

ps If you go here be sure to have the serial trail map as getting confused is a real possibility. Also check that its approaching high tide or you won't go very far. I would also bring some shoes for protection from oyster shells in case you have to wade, even though it was a problem in only a few areas. Finally, it took us three easy hours with no wind.

No comments: